Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Comfort in Death

Post Soundtrack:  Isolate by Moby

Colossians 3:2-3 - "Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

It can be a real temptation to focus on my life here, on my daily struggles, on my daily pain.  In some ways, it is nearly impossible to not have my thoughts dwell on my daily condition.  This is why it is such a strong temptation to put all my effort, worry, and concern in the here and now.

However, this verse clearly speaks directly to that temptation of mine.  As important and pressing as my pain and suffering may be, they are not of the utmost importance.  My spiritual life far surpasses my physical life in urgency and importance.  Even beyond this obvious application, I want to point out to myself that this verse says I have already died, a reminder of my death and burial in Christ through baptism, as is spoken of in Romans 6:3-4.  I do flinch from dying of Lupus, but in truth the more important death has already happened.  I chose my death, that of separating myself from sin, and that death carries so much more impact than any death that Lupus can dole out.  

Further, this verse is a comfort, for it reassures me that the life I gained through my choice is safe in God's hands.  Lupus cannot touch my eternal life, cannot ever take it from me.  God holds that essence beyond the reach of pain, outside the realm of earthly fear.  I never have to fret or worry that, among the other things Lupus has taken from me, I might lose my eternal comfort as well.  God has hidden it away from the contamination of physical disease, and not even my emotional anguish can lessen or taint that final reward.  "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us," Romans 8:18.

All God asks of me in return is that I follow his Word, that I obey his commands.  I need to stop to consider exactly what extremes I would be willing to go to in order to be certain of comfort and the ending of pain.  God has not asked those extremes of me, though he could have.  As it says in 1 John 5:3, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.  And his commandments are not burdensome."  This is why I unflinchingly and eagerly strive to do his will.  How could I not, when his kindness and mercy are so evident to me as I face Lupus?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Unwrapping Our Gifts

Post Soundtrack:  Edge of the Ocean by Ivy

I was led today on an internet journey that ended up with me reading a blog post about an old dog.  It was very sweet and very positive, speaking of leaving behind the bad things in our past and being in the now while looking on to our future.  But something he said really struck a chord with me.

"Gifts are everywhere, even if they are wrapped in mystery and challenge, in scars and fear." - Tom Ryan

This is very true.  This can be applied to almost anything.  But mostly, I find it applies well to how I need to view life through Lupus.  I say 'through' Lupus because I do feel like I must look through my condition in order to see how to get on about the things I want to do.  Everything is colored by the lens of Lupus.  That may sound defeatist in a way, but it really isn't.

I've recently come to accept and come to terms with my diagnosis.  Took me a while, but I understand now why that is.  I needed to prove to myself that I could do this.  That while Lupus clearly was going to change my life, it didn't have to change me.  Do I do all the same things I used to?  Nope.  Do I aim for all the same things I used to?  Not always.  But can I go ahead with my life anyway, despite the changes Lupus has brought?  You bet!  So I had to live life, find my way through while still making allowances for these changes.  I needed to show myself that it wasn't the end of the world, that I could do it.  And I have.  I may not always LIKE these changes, but I can still cope with them and still be ME.

For myself, that is what is at the root of Mr. Ryan's statement.  That despite whatever daunting challenges, fearful moments, mysterious obstacles, or scarring events happen... there is still good in the world, in my life, in me!  I am still worth something, I am still valid as an individual.  In fact, I might have a jump on the world in this aspect, because my life gives me extra reasons to look for and unwrap these hidden gifts, these blessings that are often overlooked or undervalued.

It can be so easy to be pulled under by the sheer, daunting weight of unknowns and negatives that come with a Lupus diagnosis.  There is a reason Lupus patients are prone to depression.  But I say we fight for our happiness.  That we look for and treasure these gifts, and share them with each other, to help lift and brighten someone else's day as well.  Let's try harder to do that.  I'm certain that doing so will ease our hearts and bring smiles to faces that need them.