In Another World

Weekly Sabbath Survey

In Another World — 11-1-2014

There’s not a certain memory of when I realized that I am mostly living in a different world than a lot of people. It was several years ago. The understanding came gradually, and in a series of shocking revelations: my world is one of illness and pain. For those who live with any disease that is progressive, degenerative, debilitating, or chronic, it is a world with prospects for the future not so bright. The main hope is a pure miracle. And we clunk along with the help of medication, but still no cure in sight. For some, a sort of brain fatigue goes along with the physical when a ‘spell’ is really bad. Sometimes the miracle is not that we were healed, but simply we, in the Lord, have joy, happiness, without healing. The miracle is we have enjoyed life for as long as we can. We don’t quit living while we can still do it.

For me the gradual loss of strength goes unnoticed until one day, suddenly there is a function or activity I just can’t do any more. Yesterday I could, now I can’t. I know aging is a factor, but I blame it all on the ‘thing’ that gripped me about 25 years ago. Like others with this kind of a problem, it is difficult to be very misunderstood at times by more physically active people. They grow weary of noncommittal answers to invitations and plans, and canceling at the last minute. I want to be as normal as I can and blend in. So, that means at times, staying away from gatherings when I’m feeling my worst. Most everything about the way I live is unpredictable. I have found that if I push past where I shouldn’t, it is a big mistake. It makes things worse and the bad spell lasts longer than if I had just rested and taken care of myself.

In my circle of acquaintance there are a number of people with diseases and conditions that are similar to mine one way or another in many ways: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, ALS, and one friend with a severely non-functional immune system — which leads to infections in wounds and surgery sites, and in the lungs, and of course, a general all over extreme fatigue. Many of these conditions give little outward indication of their presence for a long while. The sufferer LOOKS just fine.

There are various stages of acceptance for us among friends/family. You healthier ones should educate yourself on your loved one’s problems. And be a good sport about giving them a break and helping them. More than once my husband went over my party to-do list and canceled table cloths, cloth napkins, and the good dishes, opting for paper products and the nice finish of our oak dining table. He looked at the menu and scratched off my famous macaroni salad and homemade Maple Pecan pie. Then he went to the grocery and bought potato salad already made and a nice peach cobbler. He grilled chicken, we had a pot of beans on the stove, and everybody was happy. My Martha Stewart hostess days are apparently over!

When riding somewhere it might help if the driver sees their passenger needs help getting in or out of the car. Going up and down steps might be a challenge. Walking with a paper plate from buffet to table could result in an embarrassingly messy moment and waste of food. Offer to help. If you’re told “no” don’t let that stop you from offering again another time. Some of us are more independent than others. Be aware, act accordingly. I am NEVER upset when someone wants to help me. Some days I really need it.

We all will depend on our family and friends to keep us going as long as we can. Whether you are friend, neighbor, spouse or child, we don’t want you to allow us to become a prisoner of the world between ‘home bound’ and ‘nothing wrong with me.’ Our world of illness can still be an exciting and fun place as long as we have the strength in ourselves and the encouragement and acceptance from you to keep us going until we can’t go any more. God bless everyone of you. You are surely Earth Angels.

Lord, when were you sick, weak and discouraged and we helped you? When you did it for the least of these: my children, you did it for Me. (Words of Jesus paraphrased.)

Charlene Reams Manning

Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah

Forward any WSS you feel has merit. (without changes, please) Copyright May 2014

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One thought on “In Another World

  1. Hopefully this blog will reach family and friends of those with chronic illnesses and they will have more compassion and better understanding. Thank you Charlie for always having a servants heart!

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