“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:12-16).
I bought a new bracelet recently with a purple band. It is stone material with four simple letters –LIVE. I wear it under my wrist so I can see the word often–a constant reminder to embrace life.
Live: to be alive. To maintain oneself. To have life rich in experience.
As I left my cardiologist’s office recently–a 600-mile round trip–he offered three words.
It can be a daunting challenge embracing and enjoying life while suffering with chronic illness. Some days its tempting to hide in bed and put the covers over our heads. We all need a day once in a while of nothingness; to rest and hopefully rejuvenate a bit.
I get in moods in which I become angry with my body and its unpredictability. I’m frustrated I can’t do what I want without thinking it through and realizing my body will not have the energy–or if there is enough energy what will be the consequences.
I weigh decisions–like we all do–before taking action.
When I am utterly frustrated I may talk to a trusted confident, write, or visit my favorite chapel for some quiet prayer and reflection. And I think “I need to get over myself” and get back to living.
Usually within a week I am in a more hope-filled state. But it’s not easy and if I look too far into the future, life can become a bit overwhelming.
Two years ago when I first heard my cardiologist tell me to live and be well I made a conscious effort to try my best to embrace this life, despite difficulties. Some days I succeed, others not. But each morning is a new opportunity to give it my best shot.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for each day that You give us. Help us to see the beauty in our lives and serve You despite our difficulties. In Your name dear Lord, Amen.
About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three children. She is a retired elementary school counselor who discovered her love of writing about 35 years ago. Laura is the disability/chronic illness advocate for her church and also enjoys running a HopeKeepers group. She is writing a book about her illness, dysautonomia: the deregulation of the autonomic nervous system. She had a pacemaker implanted in October 2013 as a result of dysautonomia slowing her heart rate.
What do you do to help yourself remain hopeful despite your suffering?
This song is by Superchic, a Christian alternative rock band. The song has some potent lyrics, however and I had tears come to my eyes at about 2:30 minutes through it… Life is hard and there is tragedy in our lives. Perhaps your illness is just one of many tragedies, but Jesus came to earth so that we might live abundantly (John 10:10). Don’t forget to put your whole heart into living. -Lisa