Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Surprises

There are lots of surprises that come with chronic illness. Some, if you can believe it, are actually good, while others, as you imagine, are not so good.

My biggest surprise, of course, was on December 4, 2000, when a team of doctors from the neurology department at the U of M came into my room and said, “We have a tentative diagnosis. You either have Myasthenia Gravis (MG), which is not curable, but there are treatments for it. Or, you have bulbar palsy, which is degenerative and terminal. We are leaning toward bulbar palsy.” Ouch.

Another kind of sad surprise is how quickly you understand who your true friends are. How much your church REALLY supports chronically ill people…But we’ve already been down that road too many times, and are not going back there. I had very few friends stick by me when I first got really sick. One even told me I was just being selfish. SELFISH! I was almost dead. Oh, how selfish of me. Please. People who REALLY love you are there for you, no matter what. Remember that. I sure do. And therefore, remember to let them know how much you appreciate them for standing by your side. Being ill is difficult, but so is being a care-taker!

An amazing surprise is how God prepared my husband ahead of time (when we didn’t even know each other) for every skill that he could possibly need when it came to taking care of me. As I said before, I came home in a hospital bed, and he slept on the couch for SIX MONTHS to take care of me during the night. I shouldn’t have been surprised, I guess, because my God is all-knowing, and He loves me, and my husband is an honorable man. He is a tremendous provider, care-taker, and the hardest worker I’ve ever known. He’s a cross between Daniel Boone and MacGuyver…he can hunt anything, live outside indefinitely, and probably make a rifle out of a few sticks and some chewing gum. He’s just a genius that way.

I think the biggest surprise of all is that I wouldn’t change anything. I wouldn’t go back and never get sick. Some of you may have your jaws on the floor…but I’m a different person now. I’ve been connecting with some old friends on facebook, friends who only knew me before I was diagnosed. They can hardly believe I’m the same person.

I used to be wound tighter than a drum. I was working at a trucking company making GOOD money. I had a powerful position, and I loved it. I loved going to the city and immersing myself in the city life. Chicago was one of my favorite places to go “clubbing” with a friend. I cursed like a sailor, drank too much, and smoked cigarettes. I was impatient, and didn’t have a close relationship with God. I believe I was still saved, but I was NOT walking the walk.

Now I truly realize it’s only because of God that I got through all this. God, and the prayers of His faithful. I am WAY more patient. Little things just don’t bother me…I don’t have the energy to waste worrying about them. I love deeply and quickly. I let people know how much they mean to me, because after all, that’s really what it’s all about. Relationships.

It’s not about who has the most. It’s not about climbing the corporate ladder. It’s not even about who can do the most good things…even for the Lord. It’s about talking to that friend in need. It’s about visiting that shut in. It’s about clothing the naked and feeding the hungry. It’s about visiting the sick and imprisoned. It’s praying when you say you’ll pray. It’s encouraging someone when they feel all hope is lost. It’s all about love. About being the hands and feet of Jesus.

If you know someone who is ill, or having a hard time, please make a commitment to show them you care…pick up the phone…send a card…bring a meal…let them know you are praying them.

For someone on the receiving end, it can make all the difference.

13 comments:

Joanna said...

That was beautifully written!

Michele Williams said...

Amen! You said it sister! You find out who are truly your friends when you come down with a chronic illness! Your hubby sounds like mine! God is so good isn't he... He provides all that we truly need. God bless you my friend...

LisaC said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and vulnerability and sharing your post with our Christians with Chronic Illness Blog Carnival. I pray many will be blessed!

Jennifer said...

I really enjoyed this post and your comments about your husband's commitment to you when you needed him the most. How awesome is that! Your outlook on your illness is truly inspiring as well.

cjhinx said...

I have found it helpful when I am in need of someone, to remember that God is working through whomever comes to my side during that time. This way I am not disappointed when someone I expected to be there was not there for some reason. I also have remembered the many times when I have wanted to be there for someone and was not able to for one reason or another. My only comfort has been knowing that God works through the whole body of the church, not just a particular person or group of people.

Libby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Libby said...

Sorry about the last comment, i am having trouble with my "Roboform "program with blog comments where it saves what i wrote previously and then erases my current comment with something totally unrealated! FRUSTRATING! Anyway, thank you for your honest sharing and being real. God bless you sister

J. said...

Good for you! Happy to see this on the Carnival Blog site!
God Bless!
Praying for you-
Joy

unavitabella.com said...

I loved this post. Thank you for being so real with your readers! It is true, we often are considered selfish and sometimes we even feel selfish in the midst of our pain. Having loving caregivers is the greatest gift, but even more is the care and love we get from God during these times of pain and illness. Your story and how you embrace the "good surprises" is a testament to how I believe the Lord hopes we learn to respond to the really tough stuff. It ain't easy, but you're doing it!
With love,
Amy Kiel

Kerri said...

Thank you ladies, for you wondeful comments. I truly want this blog to glorify God...If ONE person can come to know Him because of my experiences, it will all have been worth it.

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