On the path through life, there are sections that are full of beauty and opportunity, and others that seem to hold one disappointment after another. I am currently facing the latter. And to be honest, I hate it. The non-stop roller coaster ride of chronic illness has worn me down. It’s hard to spend my time waiting on test results, medical appointments, and treatments. I don’t like living with misunderstood, under-researched illnesses, and sometimes it feels like I can’t seem to catch a break.
I know that no one likes being let down or feeling helpless, and I am no exception. No one looks forward to feeling overwhelmed or angry– it just happens, sometimes out of the blue. We don’t seek out dark, difficult moments, and yet sometimes those are what we are given.
I don’t have any sage advice on how to face times like these, but I can tell you what I tend to do: I fumble my way through the disappointments, frustrations and feelings of helplessness. I cry and I scream and I talk with my people, and somehow I survive. I’ll warn you, my approach is messy; it sets up camp in an awkward place of vulnerability. It’s not very comfortable or easy, but it works better than anything else I’ve tried. I stay there as I remind myself that things will change. And I trust that if they don’t change for the better, I still can. I can learn new ways to live the life I’ve been given, even if it’s not the one I would have chosen. Some people don’t understand my choice to fumble around and trust that hope will eventually show up. They don’t appreciate tears or raw honesty, but it doesn’t matter, because none of it is for them. I fumble through the hard things for myself and for those who are willing to come alongside me in the process.
The people who stick with me on my path, the ones who camp out with me in the middle of the messiness and struggle, those are the people I choose to call mine. My little tribe is there to encourage me when things get hard and to root me on when life is good. I do the same for them. None of us are given a perfectly smooth path through life– all of us have bumps along the way. There are times in life when it seems like the bumps don’t stop, as if somehow they get closer and closer together as we go along. But if we keep fumbling through life, (even if it’s with tears and screams of protest) somehow things will be better than if we walk through life alone. Yes, there will still be plenty of pain to go around and the dark times will continue to come. But we won’t be alone, and that makes things a bit more bearable.