Do It Anyway- Living Life to The Fullest in Spite of Chronic Illness
September 17, 2015 | Posted in: chronic illness; support
One of the commitments I’ve made in my life personally, and I’m sure you’ve made in yours as well, is to do it anyway. To live my life to the fullest, to do the things that I was made to do, anyway.
But you and I both know that it’s not as easy as it sounds, the doing it anyway, that it cost us more, that it might not look the way it does for others, and that others may never fully understand the choices that we make or the grief that sneaks up on us, uninvited.
I’ll never forget, being at dinner one night—I had strep (a constant struggle for me) but I’d opted not to mention that. The guests were talking about running, about their training efforts. I mistakenly joined the conversation. And they asked me, “Now, Stacey, why don’t you run anymore?” I know they were vaguely aware of my health issues, but it’s such a tricky balance, the trying not to be defined by illness and yet keeping others informed. Not to mention the part where you’re too tired to make coherent conversation with the people who live within the same walls as you. On a thousand other nights I would have answered smoothly, I wouldn’t have fumbled with the words. But that night, I had tasted their joy. I had remembered who I once was. Grief had been triggered. I cried on the way home that night, tasting salty tears, I told my husband, “They are so carefree, I can’t remember what that’s like.”
Maybe you can’t either, but you’ve decided to do life anyway. Perhaps for you, illness has led you to a place of empty arms and a heart that longs to love children you’ve yet to birth, grief triggered by the sight of swollen bellies and swaddled infants and yet you brave the world day after day.
Or maybe you find yourself doing life alone years after you were certain you would be sharing it with the partner you’d been hoping, praying, dreaming of for so long. And yet, you haven’t given up— you choose to do this life, be the person God has called you to be, anyway. Sometimes you watch as a husband takes his wife’s hand from afar and you have to turn away because you thought surely, by now— that would be you. And yet, bravely trusting, you face the days.
We may never know what doing it anyway cost one another. But we can cheer one another on. We can remind one another that it’s worth it.
Keep going. This world needs what only you can bring. You are doing so much good by just being you. Don’t quit now. I know it hurts. I know it feels like no one understands how much it cost you. Maybe they don’t. Do it anyway?