Tuesday, August 25, 2015

blessing in pain

It's almost 3 AM and instead of sleeping like I should be, I am sitting alone in the dark writing because I don't know what else to do. Something I've learned over the past few months is that chronic illness is isolating. 

Isolating - causing (a person or place) to be or remain alone or apart from others.

That about sums it up. One thing I wish I had been told before all of this began was that if you live the life of someone with a chronic illness, you're life will often be lonely. I wish I had been warned that the majority of your friends will slowly back out of your life and stop calling and checking in and spending time with you. It would have been very helpful to be told that even your own family would likely question if you're really sick at all and that the ones that love you and that you love the most will hurt you the most. It would have been nice to know these things. But I guess if I had known these things, I would have missed out on a lot in the past. 

Don't get me wrong, I have a few wicked supportive friends who love me no matter what my life looks like. I have parents who understand that I cannot fully support myself and allow me to live at home and help me get to doctors appointments and help pay for my medications. I have siblings that pray for me regularly and offer advice and love. I have a beautiful niece that is the sunshine of my life that will always make me smile. I know that I am truly blessed. 

I think when someone says "I'm blessed", it can be very misinterpreted. The word blessed actually means, 'endowed with divine favor and protection.' As a Christian, I believe that God is protecting me even through all of this. I believe that he has chosen me to journey through the ups and downs of life with Him by my side. I believe that because of that, I am blessed. But being blessed as we say "I'm so blessed" doesn't mean that everything is wonderful, life is perfect and you wouldn't change a thing. If you can honestly say, "I wouldn't change a thing in my life" I would likely be a little skeptical.

Life comes with hardships as well as blessings. Sometimes the blessings seem to flow and  sometimes the hardships seem to rain down and flood us out. Just because I know blessings doesn't mean I don't know pain. Just because you are currently experiencing hardships does not mean that you are not blessed. Just because you are blessed does not mean that you are not experiencing pain and hardships. God has blessed me in more ways than I can count over the years; it doesn't mean that all is well though. Life is hard, even with God by my side. Pain is still painful and depression still depressing. Blessings still blessings. 

My point being, I am living with an illness that often makes me feel guilty, lonely, worthless and causes me a great deal of pain.. but even in that, I know I am blessed. My life is no where near perfect and no where even close to what I had imagined it to be, but this is the life I am living. I can choose to wallow in self-pity and give up or choose to realize that even in the pain, I am blessed. Even when I feel defeated and ready to give up completely, when I'm crying and begging God to end it, I am still blessed. 

Chronic illness is a crappy hand to be dealt and it comes with a lot of messy emotions. I'm learning to remember the blessings amidst the hardships. But remember, that just because you know you have been blessed, doesn't mean you aren't in pain. They are not separate. This I now know. I am blessed even in the pain.