What chronic illness has taught me
It is easy to get trapped in a cycle of physical pain, leading to emotional pain, leading to spiritual and existential pain, leading to hopelessness.
It has taken many years of self reflection, suffering, and self flagellation to arrive at a place of peace and self acceptance. I would be lying if I said I don't still struggle with the emotional challenges of chronic illness from time to time. But I wanted to share one core lessen I've gleaned from having so many things taken from me with a debilitating chronic illness.
First, I started life with big dreams of being a famous musician in some super cool band.
And yes, I did realize many aspects of this dream in the early days....
Regardless, I don't spend much time looking back in regret or pining over what could have been.
I could go on for years thinking of all of what I once had and whom I once was, but instead I had a profound realization or breakthrough at the lowest point of my disease. So here it is:
I realize that the new me is even more awesome than the old me. Yep, that's it! :)
I've been forced to grow and evolve in ways I never thought possible. The new me is a bit more boring, a little slower, and can't do tons of things I used to do, sure. However, many of the things I used to do I realize maybe they weren't all that great and I don't really want to do them anyway.
More importantly, what has come from this processes of finding the 'better me' is that the emotional ups/downs are comparatively minimal and I've had to get to know the 'real me', beyond the physical form, to understand my true value beyond market place, beyond job space or title, beyond the size of my paycheck, and beyond acceptance of society or praise of my peers.
I now realize my true and inherent value is simply in being, breathing, and realizing this is the inherent value in all living beings. We have value because we are alive for a short time - as are our loved ones. To spend time worrying about anything other than maximizing our time with those we love and being of service to the world at large is anything short of futile and a complete waste of a beautiful human life.
We are more than our labels. We are more than our pocket books. We are more than our job titles and our cars and our houses and our clothes. Standing as an example of gratitude for life and all the small victories we all get on a daily basis is where the beginning of inner peace begins.
- Dan Hansen Mission Healing Engage © 2020