A good friend loaned me a book to read called “Waiting For A Miracle” by Jan Markell. At first I was like, Oh, here we go, another name-it-and-claim-it I’m healed book. However, when I started to read it, I found the simple yet profound account of a woman, much like myself, struggling with chronic illness, and just trying to pass along some encouragement to others. Her honestly hits so close to home. It is as if she is in my mind…the same struggles, the same questions. But yet in her heart, and in mine, at our most basic level we just want to love the Lord and encourage others.
One of the most difficult concepts in dealing with chronic illness (and just plain old life) is balance. Especially when you never know how you’re going to feel! Do you make commitments?? Do you keep them at any cost? Do you never commit because you don’t know if you’ll be able to fulfill your obligation?
The following are excerpts from her book, a chapter titled “The Dilema of Balance.” Tears welled in my eyes and streamed down my face as I read words that have gone through my own mind a thousand times….
“Being ill is a full-time job without vacation or other fringe benefits. And it’s a balancing act of the greatest magnitude! Balancing activity and anticipation with a daily routine of needed rest and quiet is not an easy assignment….
We wonder if we should keep our dilemma private, or speak too often about it and risk the flight of loved ones. Should we ask for help and risk being a burden, or should we maintain some independence which can bring on isolation or other problems? Should we push ourselves socially in the interest of our mental health, or should we play it safe and virtually vegetate, thus allowing rest therapy a better chance of bringing recovery from our affliction?….
Letting go is one of the most difficult assignments, for it is not just the act of letting go, but embracing the mind-set of acceptance at the same time….
Living among healthy people who have no restrictions offers us overwhelming temptation to depart from a strict recovery program that includes a needed balance. Well people will want us to make commitments, which can be a double-edged sword. With commitment there is anticipation; however, there is also the dread of not being able to follow through with that commitment. Then anticipation turns to stress, stress to anxiety, and anxiety to even poorer health.
Even good stress needs balance. Good stress is an event or opportunity that involves fun, activity, and people we love. It involves fellowship, caring, sharing and love. But it also may involve too many people, too much talking, and too much activity. Then we’re back to square one.”
WOW. Everything I feel summed up in a few pages in a book. If you know someone with chronic illness, I hope you read this carefully….sometimes that person wants nothing more than to go out with you, to hang out, to go to lunch, whatever, but the cost of going is more than our bodies can pay that day. But more than anything, we don’t want to be isolated, so we push ourselves to the brink…and sometimes over it.
For our caregivers…God bless you. No really. God REALLY, REALLY bless your socks off. It is NOT easy taking care of someone who is chronically ill, because if you are the primary caregiver, you are in the balance battle as well.
Only by surrendering 100% of all we are to God can we even hope to begin to figure this out.