Recently I was asked where one finds the courage to keep going. To keep facing chronic pain, chronic illness and the dark cloud of depression.
Courage, its important. I know it is. Do you have to be brave to have courage? No I don’t think you do. I think courage is doing what you know you must do even if you are scared crappless of it.
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying “I will try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher
I can’t tell you how much I love this quote.. How much it has helped me get through some of the toughest times. How much it comforted me at the end of a really bad day.
I have mentioned briefly that I don’t view myself as christian but at one time I did. It was not a dramatic parting. More like over time over years realizing that this is not really what I believe. Not really, not deep down. You would think after four and half years of trying to get pregnant , after miscarriages and sorrow, after a difficult delivery that my faith would have been renewed. Really I can’t say when it started…but I would say probably after my miscarriage and being told God gives and God takes away. This did not sit well with me. It did not reflect a loving God to me. Then to go through all of that and finally be a mother and finally have what I had wanted for years…..to be told that I had a chronic illness. Then to find out I had many. The judgement I received and the things I was told. Deffinetely left me wondering. I continued to try and the gap between what I was hearing and what I felt just grew larger and larger. But not going to church didn’t sit well with me either. I missed the community , the fellowship and even the few who had shown me true love. My questions were often met with you need to just believe. I am sorry I have a scientific mind and I was not satisfied with the thought of don’t question just do.
Its not been easy. Its actually really very hard to go with what your gut is telling you and not what you have been spoon fed. To constantly question yourself and wonder if you are doing the right thing.
I did find community and caring and help in the Unitarian Universalist church. From the moment I stepped through those doors, there was no judgement. There was discussion, There was we are glad you are here. How can we help you? When I talked about my feelings and how I felt about things there was understanding. I could say without fear of being reprimanded or judged that sometimes I do have psychic thoughts. That when I act on them good things happen. When I ignore them typically something bad happens. I could be myself. I could ask questions and explore without derision or judgement. The pursuit of truth is important to the Unitarian universalists and that matched what I felt.
I truly don’t know how I do it each day. There are times when I wake and its time to get up. I wonder when it will end. When I will have peace. Then I get up and I just do it. Weather I want to or not. I just do. I look for little moments that I can cherish The sunlight hitting the confederate jasmine. The smell of orange blossoms and jasmine in the humid air. Feelings of contentment come more and more now. Not because I am actively pursuing contentment but because I am content with where I am knowing its not where I want to stay.
I don’t know how I would classify myself outside of a Unitarian Universalist. I did a poll at Beliefnet.com. http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx I don’t get anything for this plug but it helped me stop and really think of how to classify myself. For some reason I needed that label. I needed to know where I fell into it. Because I didn’t fully fit in Wicca, nor Pagan, nor Buddah but more of a mix of all of them plus some little off shoots that I really didn’t know where they fit in. It told me I was 100 percent Unitarian Universalist but not surprising I had strong beliefs in Theravada Buddism, Neo Pagan, Reformed Judiasm, Scientology and Christian Scientist. It helped me feel more grounded.
What I do know is that I am more content with where I am and who I am than I have ever been.
There is something about chronic pain/illness that makes you look really hard at yourself and how you believe. I have been involved in many support groups and have seen it over and over. Its a process we all go through. I think it often makes us a better person. I know it has me.
It doesn’t really answer how I do what I do with the conditions I have. It is not this big ah ha moment. It was more like a whole bunch of those strung out over about three years. It influences everything. Right down to the pills I choose to take for my conditions.
I am not saying everyone is going to end up at the same place as I am. I am not saying you are wrong if you don’t end up where I am. What matters the most is that look deep down inside yourself. That you are in agreement with not only your beliefs but what they say about how you are living and your health.
I am also not a dick about what I believe or how I came to believe it. If it brings you happiness and peace. Then I am super and genuinely happy for you.
It doesn’t mean I am not still judged…Like I said I am very involved with several support groups….religion and beliefs comes up. I try to keep my beliefs out of it but there is just something about connecting with a fellow sufferer who thinks and believes in similar ways. It helps. If you don’t feel you fit into one group, keep trying. They are not one size fits all.
Don’t give up!
Remember that courage isn’t always loud.
Sometimes its just the fact that you keep trying.