Home » Mechanics: Illness & Recovery » surrender to what is, let go of what was, & have faith in what will be

surrender to what is, let go of what was, & have faith in what will be

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Hey, beautiful world!  I’ve been away from the blogging world for about a month now, but am excited to be writing again.  It has been a stormy couple of weeks and I am on the brink of even more trials and transitions.  Yep, late summer has been a season of change.  In the heavy, stagnant heat of August, new life has come unannounced, like the wind that shakes the palms at twilight.

One big thing that has not changed is my physical health.  Nope, this wretched case of CFS/ME has not budged a bit.  It’s like I’m clawing at a twelve-ton boulder lodged in a slot canyon, just scraping like hell, fingernails worn down and bloodied.  No progress, for nearly five months now, which brings the overall course of my illness to just shy of fourteen months.  Pain and fatigue stand in the doorway, every second of every minute in every room of the house.  Can’t get out.  So, that’s a bummer.  On to the changes.

I successfully applied to four low-residency graduate programs in Writing.  The low-residency format means that the two-year programs are chiefly online, but twice a year there is an on-campus seminar, which is usually around ten days of workshops and interaction with the professors.  The application process in itself was so involved and demanding that I a) deserve a degree just for completing them b) have doubts about this investment  c) am not sure I can handle graduate school with CFS.  One of the classic symptoms of CFS is mental fatigue and fog, which I experience, even if it ebbs and flows in severity.  So, that plan is up-in-the-air, but I have some time to think about this decision, and I have faith the best plan will reveal itself.

Another change that has been building for some time is that I am ready to be vocal about my illness and work to advocate for CFS/ME awareness.  I am coming to terms with the fact that CFS is my reality, for the foreseeable future, and not a phase that will come and go and can be “moved on from.”  And while there is a list of things I cannot do that could stretch from here to Bangkok, there are still a few things I can do that might make a difference.  I am aware of a world of suffering that I used to know nothing about.  It is insane that CFS/ME is not given adequate research funds or attention by the medical and scientific world.  I believe the time will come when CFS goes from a controversial disorder to a disease that is taken seriously, and thus a treatment will be pursued diligently (similar to how HIV, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s have moved from vague conditions to household terms with well-researched treatment plans).  I hope we are on the cusp of this era for CFS, and I want to do what I can to help raise awareness.  In all transparency, I have been reluctant to put a name on my life-wrecking illness, because CFS is misunderstood by so many, and I don’t want to be seen as overdramatic, crazy, lazy, or attention seeking.  But I am past this ego-driven fear.  I have confidence that, as I express my situation in a genuine way, the only possible conclusions will be: a) CFS is a serious, life-altering medical condition or b) I am mentally ill.  And to be honest, I am not concerned with the people who will dismiss me, because the compassion and awareness that will be made possible with others means infinitely more.

Also, I have been realizing- begrudgingly at first and then with more acceptance- that I can no longer live independently.  It is physically and emotionally draining to do the minimal things necessary for maintaining my apartment, my dog, and myself.  The anxiety of chronic illness (including physical pain and an uncertain prognosis) grows wild and unruly by days and days of solitude.  I am not sure what my next situation will be, but I know I will need to make a change pretty soon.  I will have to say goodbye to the normal-twenty-six-year-old-world I was trying to build, because the hard, cold, un-moveable truth is that I am still very sick.

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On top of all of this, ten days ago I found out my dog has a cancerous tumor.  She is recovering from having it removed right now, but it looks like she will need localized radiation to try to clear the cancer.  I must admit I wonder sometimes when my life will stop so vividly resembling a nightmare.  My beautiful dog, Jezabel, has been in my life for six years.  I got her when I was twenty and living in Oregon, and she and I have travelled through many different worlds together.  This last year of illness, especially, has drawn us so closely together that it is as if she is a piece of who I am, a treasured appendage.  Jez was there with me in my life before illness and she is intimately involved in my daily life, too.  She is the only one that has really been present, daily, on both sides of my reality.  She is such a wonderful, gentle, loving creature, and my closest companion.  I pray that she has many years ahead of her, and that she won’t suffer.  It’s almost too much for me to think about, so I am just going to do the next right thing for her.

Amidst these transitions, the most overwhelming change is happening inside of me.  My spiritual belief system has been uprooted and made new!  I’ve moved from casual faith in a mysterious, unknowable higher power, to believing in God.  This change unraveled rather mysteriously over the course of a few weeks, during which I had decided to spend a lot of time reading Scripture and praying, without a specific agenda in mind.  The more I studied Jesus and The Bible, the more I began to feel and understand God’s presence.  I have rejected Christianity for my entire adult life up until this point, so my faith is a surprising revelation that is at once unsettling and richly affirming.  It’s not something I can explain, intellectually, as God is a matter of heart and not of mind.  I would love to correspond one on one about my shift of faith with anyone who is interested.  As this relates to chronic illness, the implications are far-reaching and yet to be discovered, but so far I am more at peace with (physical) suffering and (perceived) solitude.  I no longer see myself as the captain of my ship, and this perspective is tremendously humbling and comforting.  Perhaps it sounds as if I found God out of desperation, finally stranded in pain and powerlessness. Certainly.  What a joyful discovery!

And that’s a wrap.  I will be writing frequently again, shooting for my weekly posts.  I am sending nonspecific but heartfelt prayers for LOVE and HEALING to all of my readers and friends. I hope that positive changes happen for all of us, and that we will have the patience and inner-peace to endure the days between.

6 thoughts on “surrender to what is, let go of what was, & have faith in what will be

  1. This post has touched my heart. You are right when you say that suffering can bring us closer to God. My spiritual shift has been opposite to yours: from believing in a specific Christian God, to believing in a more mysterious Higher Power. In spite of this, I agree 100% with you. And I am proud of you when you say that you have accepted your illness. The title of this post caught my attention. Letting go of the past, having faith of what is to come, and surrendering to the present is essential. Jesus said “don’t worry about what you will eat, what you will wear… but seek the Kingdom of God and its righteousness.” I understand this to mean that we should not worry about the past or the future, but about what we need to do today: serving others (Kingdom of Heaven).” He also encouraged us to live like children do. They have simple lives, as opposed to us adults who are usually on the go, trying to accomplish something, and missing what is in front of us. Surrender, simply, and serve others. This is my motto of this experience we call Life. I look forward reading more posts from you. God bless.

    • Hey Noel! Thank you for this thoughtful response. I connect with so much of what you said! Yes, these encouragements in Scripture touch my heart, as well. There are beautiful teachings about staying present, relinquishing control, and living as a humble servant, simply. Right on!!! I am glad we have connected here, and I look forward to reading your blog, too! Be well:)

  2. Read your post. sorry that your life has gotten so painfully complicated. The problems with your dog and your changing living situation is a double whammy!. I must say , Grace, that i sensed so much courage and strength in your words. I think that anyone who read them would feel uplifted. Your spiritual awaking is a comfort to me. I’ve never considered myself to be a deeply religious person (never read a page of the bible) but I do believe in God in a spiritual way. His light is always in me. Faith in a creator has been with man ever since he could communicate, it’s in our soul for a reason. I hardly ever pray(don’t want cash in all my chips just yet HA) but I will pray for you from time to time. You stay strong girl!

    • This message really made my day. Thank you so much for your compassion and encouragement. Yep, apparently life is a bunch of double-whammies sometimes… Good and bad, I guess. It means a lot to me that you take the time to read this and stay in touch. Hope you’re catching some football today! 🙂

  3. Hey, just read this. So topical for me, and so inspiring too. I’d love to hear more about your journey into spirituality and really trusting in it. I’m really swimming in an inability to trust purely out of fear because things have just felt like they’ve been getting worse, and so i fear that by trusting, i wasn’t doing enough to make good things happen. yet I know this isn’t true, in my heart of hearts. Maybe I’m where I need to be, I just am not where I WANT to be! But I was beginning to really crave and get a grip on spirituality but I feel like my recent set back and knocked any faith away. I’d love to begin to get that back! How did you begin your journey with it – was it mainly through just reading what caught your eye?

    I also really understand that transition into putting your name to CFS. Man, it took me sooo long! And it’s soooo healing when you do. When it’s something I now talk about and share with as much effort to talk through any shame I’m experiencing in that moment. The more I’ve begun to ‘take it outside’, the more I’ve noticed it integrate into my being. Rather than it be such a secret thing, it’s something that is a bit more known and so it can become a bit more loved and known within myself. Even if I fucking hate it. There’s still such an element of unintentional secrecy with it though, I think that’s the nature of the condition.

    What has happened with your living situation? Where are you going to move to? I’m in a big transition not out of choice but because my last house the landlord sold up, and so am temporarily somewhere until I find somewhere. Hope you find somewhere nurturing. Lots of love. Would love to talk more! X

    • Hey! Well, thanks again for a lovely response. I have a new roommate who is going to help me out with errands and whatnot, and she seems really great. Nice of you to ask! Also, I agree it is empowering to talk about CFS. I refuse to be ashamed of illness- that is the most ridiculous concept ever. No thank you, society. I hate the feeling of hiding from the world and I am going to do my best not to do this, about anything.

      I dig your desire to grow, spiritually. What happened for me was that I decided to spend a lot of time reading The Bible and praying for insight. I now believe that God put that desire in me, because at the time I had no idea why I was compelled to do this for weeks. It seemed like the more I read and prayed, the more I believed and felt deeply touched by the wisdom of Scripture. It was a mysterious process. For me, it seems like the more that I seek to know God, the more God responds, actively in my life. Like, I am committed to reading The Bible and praying and meditating daily, and I ask God to help me in specific situations, and he actually does things, changes things in my life, and when I pay attention I can see this. It is a process, though, and I am as clueless as ever. I just hope to continue to draw closer to my Creator, because it is giving me a supernatural sense of peace in the midst of my uncontrollable life. And I know what you’re saying about how trusting might make you be less pro-active about doing things in your life. For me, deciding and learning to trust God means that I take more risks and rely on His power and strength to guide me. Without this faith, I was really scraping to control every facet of my life, mostly to combat illness, and I actually felt way more afraid. Now I am not as afraid because I believe I can turn to my relationship with God for guidance and strength and I have faith that He will deliver and make his Love known in my life, even if it isn’t exactly how I might have predicted or wanted.

      Anyway, I hope that was coherent and possibly even helpful. I would love to talk with you more, too. Be well, friend 🙂

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