Let me know what you think! I've never entered a writing contest before...I'm totally nervous. It had to be 500-600 words, and start with "If I knew then what I know now, I would have..." So here it is!
Living For Today
By Kerri Sweeris
If I knew then what I know now, I would have lost my mind. I might not even be here. I never would have believed my own story! I would never dream that I would have to quit the job I loved. I couldn’t fathom knowing I would only have one child. I could not manage all the overwhelming things that I have dealt with over the past 15 years if I had known then.
If I had know that it would take eight years to get diagnosed…or that people would think I was crazy…or that two neurologists at a major teaching hospital would stand by my bed and tell me everything was in my head, and if I only accepted that I would get well….
If I had known that I would need a trach to breathe through for the rest of my life I would not have handled that well. If you had told me that my best friend of 12 years would die from cancer 2 years after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I would have been devastated. Best friends, both with chronic illness, diagnosed years apart, and then one dies from cancer?
I just simply would not have believed it. How could one person go through so much? If I had known that most of my friends would not be able to deal with the “sick” me? If I had known that the church I was involved in would abandon me? I would have been emotionally annihilated. Relationships are everything to me.
I am so thankful that I didn’t know. I don’t want to know what tomorrow holds. If I had known what I would be facing, I may have tried to change something, and then I wouldn’t be who I am today. And the who I am today is a lot better than the who I was then.
It’s sad that it took chronic illness to make me appreciate the little things. It makes me heartsick how much I took for granted. A deep breath. Climbing a flight of stairs with ease. Going out with friends whenever I wanted to. Saying no because I just didn’t feel like it, not because I could not physically go out.
If I knew then what I know now, I may not have married my husband, and then I would have missed one of the best things in my life. I also wouldn’t have my precious son Jacob. Even though it almost killed me carrying him, I wouldn’t change it for the world. His face, his eyes, his soul…I am enraptured by this almost-five-year-old version of me.
My faith is forever changed. I have learned of the faithfulness of God, even in the face of my faithlessness. I have developed a deeper understanding of how suffering can bring out the best in people. I have seen it firsthand. People show their true colors. I’m glad I didn’t know who would hurt and disappoint me before they actually did.
Living with chronic illness is difficult. But it is not impossible. I have a good life. I have a wonderful husband and son, and some real, genuine friendships. But best of all, I know that God will always be faithful, therefore I will always have hope.