“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
He turns 18 this month and 10 days later graduates from high school–the first of our three kids to reach this milestone. I remember the day he graduated from preschool, kindergarten and eighth grade, but this one is different; I was healthy for the others.
Soon I will watch him cross the same stage in which my husband and I graduated. In fact, it is the high school where we met and began dating 31 years earlier. It will be difficult not to become a bit melancholy as I think back to the dreams I had as a 17-year-old graduate. I know this, however–my life has had its challenges but it has been fulfilling and I am blessed.
I can no longer attend events without some preplanning, as many people living with chronic illness must do. I will pace my energy the week of graduation. I will delegate chores, skip watching my daughter’s softball games and do everything in my power to conserve energy all week for the 7 p.m. ceremony.
I’ll schedule my weekly IV fluids for the day before the graduation to make sure I am well hydrated in hopes of keeping my symptoms at bay. I need to be realistic and know that if something goes wrong I can exit the auditorium and try to get back in time to see my son receive his diploma. And I can pray that God will give me that extra strength and guide my autonomic nervous system to behave for the ninety minutes or so necessary.
It can be a hassle to preplan in hopes of averting a disaster. But the joy of watching my oldest reach this milestone on his life’s journey is well worth the hardships that I might face to experience this moment.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for allowing me to understand my body well enough to be able to do things that help sustain and enable me to enjoy these important events. Help those who are celebrating life events this summer enjoy themselves despite the obstacles that their chronic illness might present. Amen.
About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three children. She retired last year from a job of 23 years as an elementary school counselor. She is writing a book about dealing with dysautonomia, a neurological condition in which the autonomic nervous system malfunctions; affecting such things as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and temperature regulation.
What preparations do you take to allow yourself to participate in events that are important to you?
Do you have special events or things you would like to do this summer? It can be depressing when you aren’t able to do them. But. . . maybe you can–or maybe not. But find a way to avoid crying alone. This song is a happy and upbeat music video by Phil Wickham called “This Is The Day.” Regardless of our circumstances, we can all use some hopeful and joyful music today, right? -Lisa