Is There Really A Reason For Everything?

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Either everything does actually happen for a reason or we find reasons why everything happens but either way, it’s important to know that the things that do happen, have much to teach us.

I was recently asked what the biggest lesson I have learned from having sarcoidosis has been. It took me only a split second to answer that question. The biggest thing I have learned is humility.

So, did I get sarcoidosis for this reason, to learn humility? Or was learning humility a byproduct of getting the disease in the first place?

I actually have no idea of the answer to that question.

I do know that when I strip away all the fear and frustrations of having this disease, I am glad for the lesson and I suppose that is what is truly important.

Humility has taught me not to judge what I don’t understand. Humility has taught me to be a better listener. Humility has taught me my place. It has taught me that in the grand scheme of things, I am a speck. I am tiny. I have learned that strength comes from being meek. I have learned I am anything but in control.

So, did my getting sarcoidosis happen because I needed to learn these things? Or, am I the one who created the reason? The truth is, it doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is that I be open to whatever lessons await me, whether they are happening on purpose or not.

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In Sync

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To be as one

To have understanding

To work in unison

To have agreement

To flow in the same direction

To keep pace

To have awareness

To co-exist

To have peace

To accept

To be parallel

To act simultaneously

The True Nature Of Empathy

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I know that everyone has their crosses to bear. No one is ever really spared hardship and I am no different. Yet I still do truly feel more blessed than crossed. I feel more gratitude than I do pity.

Life with sarcoidosis is my cross. But I know others have far greater crosses, heavier burdens that I can’t even begin to imagine and I am awed by such courage, by such grace.

I wouldn’t have predicted that I’d end up like this. I used to be so strong and so tough and so viral. But now I am weak. Yet in my weakness, a new appreciation for my life and the suffering of others has become known to me and this humbles me because I believe I have been given a gift only a special few come to know and that is the abiding awareness that everyone suffers.

I’ve come to better understand and better appreciate the journeys of other people. I don’t have to understand their experience anymore to feel their suffering and this is a blessing for me. I am able to be fully and utterly empathetic, free of judgement and free of comparison because I have also come to understand that we all handle our crosses differently. We all handle our crosses differently because each of us has our own very personal lessons to learn. I have no right to judge another because his lessons are different than mine.

I am freed from the burden of discrimination, of intolerance, of bias because I now know that comparing my cross to another person’s is the same as comparing my insides to another person’s outsides. I cannot know what is at the heart of someone else’s pain because that is a very private matter. I have come to learn that my only responsibility is to acknowledge, accept and appreciate the sorrows of others for what they are to them…not what I think they should be.

The Power Of Weakness

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To be weak is to be free of the bondage of stress….

To be weak is to not be afraid anymore…

To be weak is to let go of ego and arrogance….

To be weak is to make room for faith…

To be weak is to be honest…

To be weak is to know what you don’t know…

To be weak is to be kind, loving and tolerant…

To be weak is to know your strength…

To be weak takes courage….

The Reason I Know My Husband Understands My Journey

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I’ve been having a tough time of late. I try to stay positive. Usually I am successful, but every now and then I crack and the fears and sorrows of living my life with this crazy disease seep out.

This happened recently and my husband was there to witness it.

His response was to hold me through the tears and stroke my hair and tell me to let it out. Then he wrote me a “To Do List”.

1. Give yourself a break from always needing to be courageous.

2. Recognize that your positive attitude and unyielding courage is what powers you every day.

3. See yourself as others see you

4. Let others see you as you are, even when you are scared and weak.

5. Live, live, live…

6. Love, love, love…

I love that man!

Managing The Psyche

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I have the occasional bad day from living with sarcoidosis. I mean really bad day, when all the emotions that I work so hard to keep organized in their little compartments come flying out and then there is an ensuing melt down.

Living with a chronic condition is hard on the body but its equally hard on the psyche. The hard part about managing my disease is balancing all the parts of myself that need attention and because my physical self is in loud screaming pain, it tends to get the most attention.

In addition, I know that I find it best to try to keep all that emotional turmoil as quiet as I can for fear that if I let it loose, it will be a plague I cannot contain, spreading through my entire life like a raging death, killing everything in its path.

Living with a chronic and unpredictable health condition means that I am in a constant low level state of fear. It means I am in a constant state of high alert and I am always battle ready. This alone is exhausting, but I know no other way to survive now. I cannot give in. I won’t.

I am learning to accept the challenges and pitfalls and I do strive for as much normalcy as possible, but sometimes when I can’t do a simple thing because of weakness, it enrages me. I stuff this rage. I plaster a smile on my face and press on. Until it happens, again and again and again and again. Eventually, I cannot hold it in anymore and some of it comes rushing out, but I try to be careful not to let it all out, for I know if I do, disaster will follow.

So every now and then, I have to let a little steam out. I open the gate but not all the way and I alway hold the knob so that I can shut it again when the pressure subsides. I know no other way to manage the emotional ups and downs of this disease but I do know that my psyche needs as much attention and care as my body.

Knowing When To Walk Away..

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Recently, the vacuum cleaner and I had a battle, not with dirt, but with each other. I was vacuuming the staircase and the attachment kept falling off. I found this to be very annoying. I may have even hollered at the vacuum a time or two or three.

I was already feeling weak when I started vacuuming because I had played a little tennis with my husband earlier in the day. My sarcoidosis makes me very weak very quickly when I am active. So, maybe vacuuming at that particular moment wasn’t my best plan anyway.

Yet there I was, in the middle of the staircase, trying to juggle the vacuum upright, the hose and attachment that kept falling off the hose with weak and wobbly legs. I ignored my legs and pressed on. There was more yelling each time the attachment came off the hose. I’m quite certain that I even called the vacuum a few choice names. In retaliation, the attachment came off again and the hose smacked me right in the face, giving me a fat lip.

This was a warning to walk away. This was a clear warning to walk away. It is not natural to be yelling at your vacuum cleaner, in the middle of your staircase. I should have realized that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to complete the job, but ever since my sarcoidosis diagnosis, I push even harder than I did before. I get angry when I feel like I am too weak to do such a simple job and that, looking back was the real reason for the yelling.

So, I didn’t walk away. I didn’t step back. I didn’t leave and come back when I felt better physically and emotionally to complete the job. I powered on and the attachment kept coming off and I kept yelling. Until, the attachment came off and the hose flew in my face a second time, this time chipping a tooth. Then I not only walked away, I stormed away and had a melt down.

I cried and cried and cried for a good ten minutes…it seemed. My mouth is not in pain and I have an appointment to get the tooth fixed already scheduled. I was annoyed that I chipped my tooth, as anyone would be, but that wasn’t why I was crying.

Having this disease makes me a fighter. I am strong most of the time. I get up every day and put on a brave face and show the world the best me, I can muster. I do this for myself as much as anyone. I do this because I need normalcy too. I do this because I’m not going to give into weakness and pain and fear.

But every once and awhile, when I can’t do something the way I want to, it gets the better of me. I am not good at walking away when I should. Walking away and letting something go and starting over when I am refreshed rarely occurs to me anymore because I am in a constant state of “fight mode”, thanks to this disease.

Even though the design of the vacuum stinks, because attachments should not fall off so easily, the primary reason I could not complete vacuuming the stairs without injury had far more to do with me and my disease than the vacuum cleaner. I was feeling very weak physically but I was ignoring it. Well, maybe I wasn’t ignoring it because I was clearly angry over it but I didn’t listen to the needs of my body and either stop and finish it later or ask for help.

It makes me angry that my disease makes me weak enough that I can’t even carry a vacuum up the stairs to get my house clean. But it doesn’t matter how angry I get, I will always get myself into a pickle when i refuse to listen to what my body is telling me it needs.

The simple fact is that I need to learn to walk away sometimes. I need to learn to let things go. I need to learn to accept my limits. I am aware that I have them yet I am always pushing. And sometimes, pushing is okay but other times, all the warning signs are there and I ignore them. I ignore them and I hurt myself.

I hate this disease. I hate what it is doing to me and I have to accept that that’s okay too. I don’t have to like something to accept it. So today, I admit that I hate this disease and today I admit that I am angry about it, what it has done to me. Maybe finally admitting that I’m not as tough as I pretend to be, will help me as I learn the hard lesson of knowing when to walk away.