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I was recently talking to a friend who also has sarcoidosis. We were actually talking about my mother who died ten years ago this week. My friend patiently listened to me while I reminisced about my mom. When I was done explaining that my mother was an exceptional person, my friend said, “I think your mother would be proud of you for making your mess your message.”

Before my friend uttered these words to me, I had never heard them before. Apparently they are not new. Robin Roberts, the ABC newscaster who had cancer a billion times said it. There is a Facebook community with this name and Joyce Myer who is a well known bible teacher and New York Times best selling author said this, “Have God make a message out of your mess.”  And, Mahatma Gandhi said, “My life is my message.” The idea that our struggles are lessons is not a new one and apparently neither is this quote in various forms.

My mess is living with sarcoidosis. And anyone who quietly and invisibly lives with a chronic illness, understands that life gets very messy when you are sick. It changes forever and the unknown becomes routine. I’ve chosen to share my mess through a blog. I do it because it helps me cope. I do it because it alleviates my fear. I do it because talking about my mess and how I try to cope with my mess actually gives me strength to live with my mess and to accept my mess for what it is…part of life.

Sharing my journey forces me to be honest about it. It forces me to make decisions about how I am going to handle the good days and the bad ones. My life, despite my mess, is beautiful. I only really understand this since getting sick. My life, despite my mess, has value. My world may be smaller than it used to be but, the world I live in now is full of more love, more gratitude, more grace and more forgiveness.

My mess has taught me to be less judgmental of what I don’t understand. It has given me a patience I once lacked. My mess is my life. My mess is my journey. My mess is me and I’m okay with that.