A Deeper Truth To Joy

fellow Lymies and any other readers out there, it has been a little while since my last blog post.

Sometimes I wonder what more we can say to each other after years through the journey of chronic illness; posting our tests, therapies, thoughts and emotions, new LLMDs…. I am very near to my two year anniversary on WordPress and I am glad I have an online journal of this journey. I have tried my best to remain translucent through the good days and the bad. I have always thought that complete honesty is the only way to write a blog through suffering, both for yourself and for others. I do firmly believe that not sharing the times that are ugly in a way is a lie. Please to those who choose not to I mean no disrespect, we all have our own paths to walk. Not that there is anything wrong with putting on a happy face, but this can easily become putting on a good front, which (I personally believe) does a disservice to yourself and a disservice to others who are suffering. There is nothing more comforting than knowing you are not alone and that others have walked or walk a similar journey with you. That is why we love stories of survival and those who overcome, it gives us hope that you can get through this.

What has been challenging is that posting  during the down days and “angry liver” episodes (oh yes), brain fog malaise and everything else…there has been guilt about not being strong enough, not having enough faith, not being the best living testimony I can be. This is something I think I am getting over and one thing I am seeing the value in more each day is the pain that becomes beauty when it is redeemed by joy and thanksgiving. 

Yes it is an odd place I find myself in, in that I have become very grateful for all th years of physical and emotional pain. This is not attributed to me or my character at all; I am whiny, unhappy, miserable, grieving, fearful, desperate, grumpy, dopey, bashful… Oh sorry. Um, got off course there. But very seriously this is who I would be if left to my own devices without God. 

We are told to count it all joy when we encounter various trials, that the testing of our faith produces endurance, we are to exult in tribulations. The depth of what the Bible says about suffering is too much to go into right now, but I feel called to just focus on a little facet of joy (rather than the full decagon). 

Misery is easy, joy is hard. Here’s the tough one, both are a choice.

 One thing I have personally learned as truth is that we have a false paradigm that we need to get to the end of suffering to find joy…..to get to the other side of trials and only in hindsight of what we have been through, find joy. This is not exactly what the Bible teaches about joy in suffering.  We tend to forget a significant two letter word… “In”    I think one thing we (please place me in this inclusive word) put “joy” and “happiness” in the same catagory. Happy is a temporal thing, something that is brought on by sunny days, tasty food and good circumstances. Joy is on a deeper level beneath the shallowness of emotions, something spiritual. 

I have been meditating on this and I think joy and peace are twin sisters; not sure if one follows the other in birth order or not, but deep joy brings deep peace and deep peace brings deep joy. 

I have joy and peace in knowing that I have walked through nothing that has not been filtered through the hands of God for my good and His glory. I am joyful and humbled that silly little me has been chosen for trial to be purified, strengthened and matured. I am deeply honored to be an ambassador for Christ and to be able to share not only information with fellow sufferers but hopefully also to encourage and exhort. 

I’m not all better yet, but I’m on the upswing and amazingly I am content right now with a little deep tissue pain and my little buddy edema and the other little symptoms that are still hanging around. Am I “happy” with these little hitchhikers? No, but still joyful ;)

Silence is not always the absence of words, but things so deep as not to be put to the page.

When Others Can’t See The War

It came to me today as I have been reflecting on how frustrated and worn out I have been lately with this multi-decade battle with illness that I am at war every moment of my life….with myself.

THIS is the essence of an autoimmune disease….with chronic invisible illness, being in an internal battle every day of your life with your body. This is what is hard for others to understand when they observe you from the outside when looking at you or talking to you. You seem normal, you are “functioning”, besides the fact that you tell them that you are horribly fatigued, or in pain, or can’t eat most foods, or can’t climb those stairs, or can’t hang out this weekend….
What they don’t see is that you and yourself really don’t get along that well and it feels that you are an alien to your very body and can’t escape the constant pain or inflammation or discomfort and your very waking existence is a trap inside a contraption that causes unending suffering.

How do you explain this to people? How do healthy people who have only occasionally been sick with the seasonal stuff even begin to contemplate a myriad of systemic symptoms that don’t just run their course and stop? Maybe if we played the Groundhog Day game and asked them to imagine the worst day they can remember with something like the flu and then picturing they had to live that day over and over for year after year.
I hope posts like this can help teach those who know people who are suffering inside in what we go through and how it feels.

Sigh. Can you tell I have been a bit frustrated lately?
Yes I have made progress. Yes the Lyme and Coinfections are getting better. But I still have a lot of things to pursue with why certain things aren’t getting better. But I am on a good track with finding a new ND clinic that works with genetics, food allergies, gut disorders, and autoimmune conditions. They will work on the pieces that my Lyme doctor cannot and I am having a ton of tests.
There is always hope isn’t there?

(Pic of my pup because she makes me happy)