My bad day yesterday had absolutely nothing to do with turning 37. I don't think 37 is all that old, and as far as it goes, I'm looking forward to the decades that are ahead in my life, should God choose to grant them to me.
What's really been crowding my thoughts and feelings lately has been this feeling of burden. The burden is chronic illness. What does it mean to my life to have three overlapping and exacerbating chronic conditions that affect me every day? And today I'm NOT going to be polite and brush it off, so as not to bore my blog readers with it...again. Today I'm going to be honest.
I've been grieving. Grieving the loss of dreams, grieving the loss of hopes, the loss of energy, the loss of plans, the loss of being the way I wish I could be. Grieving the frequent pain and the frequent lack of enenrgy to do more than the bare minimum each day.
And there is no where to turn with this grief, and it's palpable every day. Some days are like a fog and I'm just surrounded by this deep, deep sadness that pulls me down. And I force myself to reach out. I force myself to be kind to my children. I force myself to get back to my routine. These things become the rungs in the ladder of my salvation. But it's so forced.
And sometimes when I'm in a safe place, I cry. And it's not that I'm wallowing in self pity, although there is that constant temptation. No, this feels more like grief. I'm a year older and what have I to show for it? All the hopes and dreams that others have had for my life are not coming into any sort of fruition. All the hopes and dreams that I may have had for my life are dead by the roadside, sitting in the ever more distant past, left behind.
And I feel so very very incredibly alone. I KNOW others suffer. I can name at least a hand full of people that I personally know that also are in chronic pain and worse than mine no doubt. (How can pain be measured, though?) But we sure don't talk about it very much. And perhaps that is best. Because I would never ever want to be in a conversation where it becomes a comparison: My suffering versus your suffering. Because thoughts and words like that are destructive of the human experience we each have.
And yet I do it to myself all the time. When I'm having a bad day, I think to myself "Yes, but what about all the people in X? THEY have it much worse than you...(and they probably do), so therefore yours doesn't count." It's that "yours doesn't count", or that "mine doesn't count" that is killing me and not allowing breathing room...grieving room.
And so how does this become prayer? Can the very grief become prayer? Can the loss become prayer? Can this little hemmed-in life be an offering, an oblation? Can it? I want it to be, and I don't know if it can be. It's just so little.