I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. -Audrey Hepburn
Dang it, Aubrey Hepburn, you’re so doggone wonderful. I love that quote because it really sums up my journey as of late. I’ve been reading other blogger’s biographies, trying to find the words to sum up the incredible journey I’ve been on since my blogging year began. So many quick bios say, “Wife, mother, homeschooler, lover of all things French and also… puppies!” I may have thrown up a little bit in my mouth. Yes, I know, that’s describing me, but it really isn’t.
Last year, I was flat on my back in bed, crying my eyes out in pain.
I was depressed, foggy, every single part of my body hurt as if I had been in a car accident the day before, and it also felt like I had the flu, just to add a cherry on top. I had a wicked form of Fibromyalgia. I was an entrepreneur (I owned a small tutoring company), writer (three novels), teacher, mom of two, wife, and caregiver to my mom. I got sicker and sicker until finally all I had become was someone who cried in pain when they had to walk a few steps to go to the bathroom. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and watch television and feel sorry for myself. (I know, I know, that sounds great, but I promise you Hallmark movies and HDTV gets old very fast.)
Some very good things came from this terrible time, however. My tween kids were suddenly having to help take care of me. Every day they quietly brought me water or some lunch and become more and more the nurturing, wonderful people I now admire. Everyone in my family began being a bit more independent and my mom worked very hard in rehab to become once again able to live by herself beautifully. However, my husband was having to pick up the slack with my dwindling pay check. He would hold my hand by my bed as I would cry in the evenings. I fought back guilt about not contributing. Believe it or not, I had been in worse situations, but this time I was actually losing my personality within the pain. When my best friend would call, she wouldn’t even recognize my voice.
I covered my face in a melodramatic fashion and cried, “I am only in my thirties and the winter of my life had come”. (I want to reach through time and strangle myself a little for being like that.)
My life slowly, and without fan fare, was beginning to be very self-centered. People who are hurting have a tendency to not care about anything or anybody but getting out of pain. Think about it, if someone stabbed you with a knife and then left it there in your leg, you may want to talk about it here and there.
I had loved helping others, being a needed part of my family, and being the kind of person you would call if you had a flat tire three hours away and needed a ride. I didn’t want to become the type of person who only talked about their ailments… and you know what? My heart was just about to win.
I had watched the movie “Vision” which is the story of St. Hildegar of Bingen (not even a little bit of a happy movie, by the way) and had one image playing in my mind. Her mother superior was the kindest, gentlest person. She had died and they were dressing the body. As they unclothed her, they realized she had wrapped around her torso a torture devise. She had been such a beautiful, unselfish person regardless of the terrible pain and mutilation. As I gulped down the horrific scene, I realized how very true that was to my own story. Of course, the thought of self-inflicted pain is beyond my comprehension (I refuse to get a tattoo for this very reason), yet… I saw myself, or rather, what I could be. I was carrying around pain that no one knew about besides my immediate family. There had to be a way to fight the war within myself and yet appear as if everything was butterflies and daisies… and also puppies.
The wonderful thing about this disease is that it can’t kill you, you just feel like it is. If I could push through the pain, I could move my mind’s eye away from myself and back onto the beauty around me- the faith I have in a loving God, the love I have for people, the peace I feel deep down, and the heart I have for making my home a wonderful place. One thing that was my salvation through all of this was that in my life, I had been fed a very steady diet of love and joy. That well of hope inside me had been dug very deep and it was beginning to spring up into the word “evergreen”. The “winter” I had convinced myself I was experiencing was something I didn’t have to accept. There was also some hope I had found for my little body.
My favorite weapon is knowledge. I read everything I could about the disease. I researched like a madwoman. I found a great book that I has helped me tremendously you can find here. I began the very controversial medicine last year and I know it has helped me, but it hasn’t helped me as much as my vision. Every time I would begin to feel sorry for myself, I would reposition my inward gaze onto something lovely. Thinking about what was youthful, loving, beneficial, and beautiful- what was evergreen- began giving my heart hope. That well that I told you about? It sprung wide open.
Each morning, I wake up with pain. A lot of pain. But, every morning, I choose to climb the steps of my home to my office and push through the brain fog, depression, pain, and self-centeredness and work. This blog has giving me such focus. I have learned everything from the ground up (absolutely no idea what I was doing in the beginning) and have worked so hard. My hope and prayer for you is that it is a soft place for you to land, too. I hope it brings joy to your family as you work though whatever winter you are going through.
Because, you are Evergreen. Just like me.
Much love on your journey!
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