“How did it get so late so soon?” This quote by Dr. Seuss perfectly sums up my life. Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it drags on and on, and other times it skips ahead so fast you feel as if you’re the unlucky sap who stumbled through a portal to the future.
How can the days drag on while some months disappear before we get the chance to live them? I know that to some extent all people experience this feeling, yet it seems as if those of us who are chronically ill or care for someone with a chronic illness experience an amplified version of this feeling.
People living with a chronic illness tend to experience time differently than others. We view the passing of time not in days or weeks or months, but in chunks of time based on how we are feeling or when we last felt well.
It’s not just me, right? Maybe it is just me, but I have a feeling I’m not alone in this.
Every summer I hope that this is the last year I will feel so sick. Next summer, Josie, next summer you will feel great and be able to do all the things you missed this summer. Then the next summer comes and I give myself the same pep talk I gave myself the summer before.
This year however, I was sure it would be different. In May I felt great. I was able to travel, explore mountains and waterfalls and the ocean, and attend an amazing conference. I felt great, well pretty good, much better than I’d felt in a long time. I came home with high hopes for this summer.
I pictured myself riding my motorcycle to work every day, taking fun day trips, and getting some amazing new photographs. I was tentative, yet hopeful and excited!
And then I started a new medication.
Really, do I need to say anything else? You get it. You know exactly what happened. For two entire months I felt terrible. Just like that, two months of my life were gone. I felt like Westley in The Princess Bride when Count Rugen sucks a year of his life away.
“I’ve just sucked one year of your life away. … What did this do to you? Tell me. … How do you feel?”
You can watch the full clip below.
Have you ever felt like this? The last days of summer have arrived. Some children have already gone back to school, pumpkin spice everything is filling up Facebook newsfeeds everywhere, and conversations center on chilly topics such as how much snow we might get this winter.
And I’m standing over here in the corner shouting, “Hey, wait a minute! I didn’t get to have summer yet! I want a do over! Who wants to go on a picnic?”
Nobody’s paying attention so, with a resigned sigh I begin to give myself the speech again. Next summer, Josie, next summer you will feel great and be able to do all the things you missed this summer.
Whaaaat? What was that?
“Just knock it off. Life really isn’t so bad.”
“Just who do you think you are, Mr. Voice in My Head?”
“I’m the Holy Spirit and I’m reminding you of how far you’ve come. Remember when your friend Erin came for a visit and you got to do all those fun things?”
“Yah, but remember when we didn’t feel well and all the days we spent watching movies and having fevers? We could have done so many more things; I didn’t even get through half of my list of fun things to do when Erin comes.”
“How many of those things do you think you would have been able to do a couple of years ago?”
“How about last year? Do you think you could have taken that physically challenging two day class last summer?”
“Okay, okay, I get it!”
And I do. I get it. Sometimes I need to be Gibbs-slapped upside the head by the Holy Spirit (that’s an NCIS reference for those who don’t know). I can be so stubborn!
When we live with chronic illness we go through some very challenging and difficult times. It’s easy to focus on all of the things that we can’t do or that we have to miss. It’s at times like these when we need to remember the good things. The things we were and are able to do.
Don’t let the frustration turn to anger or bitterness. Find hope in God’s Word, in His challenges and encouragements. In Isaiah 43:18-19 (NASB) we read:
Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
© August 25, 2015