The past year and a half has been full of joy and riddled with unhappiness. It has seen the realization of a dream and the death of others. Sometimes I feel overwhelming contentment and sometimes I feel disappointed to the point of tears. I’ve discovered things about myself that have set my soul free, and I’ve failed catastrophically at things I’ve tried. As I near the end of this chapter and Joel and I prepare to move to Bowling Green so he can start his masters studies, I am having a hard time categorizing this period of my life. Perhaps some of our chapters just defy categorization.
I do know I feel a deep discontentment about where I am personally. While my marriage is going well (which Joel and I both agreed was the most important thing in this first year), so many other things feel out of whack or just plain terrible. My self-talk has reached an all-time low, and I find myself verbally berating myself throughout the day. Things that I should be able to just brush off bring me to tears.
The past few months have made me painfully aware of my limitations. I do not believe that God causes bad things to happen to us, but I do believe he allows certain struggles into our lives. It took me into my early adulthood to truly accept my diabetes (I was diagnosed at age six), and being diagnosed with a second autoimmune disease really led me to dig into what I believed about God and suffering. While explaining the nitty gritty of that would take a 20-page paper (*nods at her senior thesis*), I can sum it up easily: God did not cause my suffering, but he did allow it and promises to use it for my good.
I realize more and more every day that my diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis may in fact be saving me from myself in some ways. I won’t sugarcoat these diseases and act like I don’t mind them. I hate them both. But my do-or-die personality is tempered by, if I may make light of my conditions, the fact that pushing myself may result in a do-and-die situation. Low blood sugar stops me in my tracks. RA pain holds me back. Migraines from medications keep me in bed all day. Chronic fatigue makes it impossible to maintain a constant hum of activity. I am not the type of person to say, “You know what, that’s good enough for now. I think I’ll take a rest.” I will run myself into the ground every time. But with diabetes and RA, the ground continues to get closer and closer. It’s not a far fall and it doesn’t take much to get there, but it does take a lot to get back up.
I don’t know that I’ve spent much of this year off the ground. I’ve definitely been crawling more than I’ve been walking, let alone running. I haven’t held a full-time job, something most of my peers are doing at this point. I haven’t been a good friend to anyone. I’ve spent more time than I like to admit staring at a screen and hating myself for wasting time. I haven’t done much to pursue my goals or dreams. And all that’s left me feeling depressed and defeated, something out of which I have a really difficult time dragging myself.
I saw a little image on the internet the other day that read: Courage does not always roar; sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
I, of course, immediately teared up. My courage has certainly not been roaring this past year or so. I don’t think it’s even been managing to whisper anything most days.
It’s so easy to let fear control my actions. Ever since dropping out of grad school, I’ve been afraid of feeling the heartache of failure again. It was so painful to admit that that road wasn’t for me and to let that dream die. It was a real path my life could have taken, and the grief of losing it still hangs with me. It’s so much easier to not try.
But it’s not much fun. Nor is it particularly fulfilling. So, like I said in my last post, it’s time to try again. It’s time to muster my courage, and at the end of the day, regardless of how it’s gone, whisper the battle cry: