Laying an Isaac down

Pain sucks . . . Literally.

No, really, pain is one of those forces that can suck your life dry if you let it.
Whether it is your energy, your capabilities, or something else — pain is an unrelenting force.

Living with chronic pain, therefore, is understandably frustrating.
It’s hard to chase after your dreams when the act of getting out of bed seems a monumental task.
Even more insidious, however, is pain’s ability to begin sapping joy itself out of your life.

Now , to be clear, I fully believe joy and happiness as two different things. Happiness is an emotion, and a fleeting one at that. Happiness is reliant on situations.
Joy on the other hand, is more of a deep abiding peace, it’s not based on feelings (you can experience joy and sorrow at the same time not happiness though) but on a deep abiding knowledge of peace.

So, what does this have to do with me?

This week I’ve been in class studying the Pentateuch. Not to overstate things but it has been amazing!
Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a more relevant class. That said, it’s hard to be relevant without posing a challenge or two. Passive acceptance of life doesn’t generally lead to a passionate existence it leads to status quo.
Take a class on the Pentateuch you’ll find a challenge or two.

This week, aside from the awesome connections my prof has postulated to us, one challenge which was issued stems out of the story of Abraham and Isaac. I’ve known about this account since childhood, but have you ever experienced one of those times where the familiar feels brand new? Yeah, that’s where we are.

For those who don’t know, in the story Abraham is asked to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. Now, here’s some more background. It clearly says that Abraham was being tested. This is key. God’s not into child sacrifice. This is good, it’s nice to agree on things.

Secondly, Isaac was the child of promise. Breaking this down. Abraham was old, Sarah was old. We aren’t talking middle age couple trying for a family. These two were done. Menopause was well settled in, Abraham wasn’t exactly offering much himself either. The arrival of Isaac was not only miraculous but the beginning of God’s fulfilling of His promise to His people. On the flip side, this means that if Isaac were to perish, the long awaited promise that had driven Abraham’s entire life, the promise on which the world’s redemption rested, would be over. We could live and die and that would be it.
Now, into that God asked Abraham in a test to give Isaac in sacrifice.

So, fast forward to the future. Class has challenged us to find our Isaac’s and lay them down. This makes sense to me. Isaac’s are good but because of their value they can easily take the space intended for God. To lay these down, is a good process but not exactly a pleasant one.

I’ve been doing a lot of wondering, as a result, about what Isaac’s are in my life. You should have felt my heart lurch when my prof mentioned good health as a potential Isaac. This semester has been hard. Between health problems and feeling like I’m falling behind my peer group it’s easy to see how, for me, good health is starting to become an Isaac. This idea that if only I could get reach this imperceptible level then things would be fine. But that’s not living by faith. Ouch.

I really want to be independent and healthy. My reasons for doing so aren’t exactly pure though. I don’t want to have to wrestle through old fears of being a burden. I like controlling my own life. Living in community is messy and I’m a little OCD (this isn’t literal, kind of). None of these are good reasons to seek societal ideals of health. Even as I process, and yes this is rough thoughts, it makes sense to me that striving towards the best I can within my situation and for God’s glory is the goal I should be striving for, even if it means setting aside selfish ambitions.

It’s fascinating to me that most instances of laying down an Isaac actually increase our dependence upon this God we can not control. It’s so counter intuitive but even as I think about it I can see the shadows of my consciousness beginning to make sense of how these acts could be beneficial. That which is good for us isn’t always immediately apparent. It’s like my friends children. They often don’t understand why giving up the things the truly desire, like a day of only candy, is actually better for them in the long run. Hmmm, being compared to a child isn’t any less painful than it is true, ouch again.

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Some favourite YouTube Finds

So, to balance out the last post here are two of my favourite late night YouTube finds šŸ™‚

 

My first offering is a wonderful fanvid from one of my favourite television shows Joss Whedon’s Firefly. It seemed slightly appropriate in light of earlier comments tonight.


 

My second offering is a far more light hearted affair. Yes, these are professional musicians having a blast and goofing off together. It always makes me smile šŸ˜€

 

Isn’t it ironic

Well, I think it is anyway.

I start a blog about life with a chronic illness: good and bad, weird and fun, only to Ā be incapacitated for the next week due to my chronic illness.

Tonight was a bad night.

Ehlers-Danlos is an interesting enemy to fight and one day I’ll explain it better. Tonight I just don’t have the heart to do so.

I was sitting on my couch trying to focus when my shoulder and two ribs went out. I’m still not sure what it was that I did to end up in such a state but here I sit 8 hours later finally in enough control to function slightly again.

After getting my diagnosis, I realized that nights like this would become a part of my reality. EDS has no cure and I count myself blessed that nights like this are still few. However, one thing I doubt I’ll ever get used to is the crushing feeling of letting people down and becoming a burden to those I care about.

I’m sorry to start this blog off with such a sour note and perhaps I’ll post a fun youtube video or something later to make up for it (and cheer myself up). The fact is I had four friends over when this happened and all I can see is the trouble my injuries caused.

My one friend wasn’t sure what to do and I don’t blame him. I knew he was having a rough night and that was why he was over.

My boyfriend was sweet and reminded me he wasn’t going anywhere but to see the pain in his eyes, knowing there was nothing he could do to change my fate tugs at my heart too. Not to mention that some part of my brain always whispers the fear that one day he may become tired of my limitations. I wonder how many chronically ill daters struggle with this fear?

My third friend was helpful. She’s known me long enough to check my joints to see if they’re aligned and let me know when they still needĀ realignment. I don’t always like what she says but I know she’s right.

The problem was my fourth friend. I know he was concerned about his wife and the time but to see the impatience and hear it in his voice made me cringe as I felt my presence was creating the need for sacrifice. That my being was the reasoning for extra effort and care. In essence, I felt like a burden in my own home. It’s not the first time I’ve felt this way but I wonder if it will ever lessen or if it should get easier?

I know on one hand it could get easier. My worth is not determined by my illness but by my being. I am not disqualified because of a faulty gene. Sometimes, however, it can be hard to believe this in light of the contradictory messages society loves to throw.

At the same time, I don’t think those moments of feeling a burden should get easier. Hear me out. The fact is, it’s only going to get easier to deal with these struggles, whether you’re disabled or not, as you become more secure in yourself, like I mentioned earlier. For these feelings to become easier while still wrestling through these feelings runs the risk of allowing oneself to accept the label of burden into one’s identity. That’s something I can’t accept for another person seeing their intrinsic worth and hopefully one day I’ll be able to say the same thing about myself.

Hmm, think I’m going to go pay YouTube a visit after all

Hello World, I’m here :)

The sky is falling.

Just kidding. No really, although life often feels that way and that’s why I’m here.

I’m a zebra. I have a chronic and rare condition which makes my life complicated in a world that attempts to urge uniqueness while channeling conformity. As a result, I get confused, often. I also get depressed, anxious and a bunch of other words which make counselorsĀ salivate. I know, I’m studying to be one šŸ™‚

The point of this blog is escaping to reality. The fact is my life is shaped by my illness but I am not forced to live out an illness. My hope is that this blog with become a place of information for my condition – current diagnosis is Ehlers-Danlos and Raynaud’s although others may be pending, as well as information in general.

Also, since illness can beĀ overwhelming, I hope to post fun things as I find them which bring joy or thought to my everyday.

So, for those stopping by, thanks for coming. For those who choose to come along for the ride, hop on, hold on, and Carpe Diem.