My life has become a little grey. It’s not that each day is especially hard, although there is an element of that, but more that every day is the same. Each day is a hard slog and then you wake up to another day where you have to do the same again. It gives the feeling of life passing you by, whilst you are attempting to walk against the current. One of my friends put it best when she said life with fatigue vanishes into some kind of empty twilight. It doesn’t feel as dark as life with depression felt, but neither do I feel like I’m living in the fullness of the bright light of day. Day to day I am drifting between denying the reality of my illness and drowning under the weight of it.
I had my birthday ten days ago, which is always a time of year where I’m prone to reflection. It would be easy to look back over the last year and see only the exhaustion and the struggle of managing a Chronic Illness. I could look back and see the nights where I felt completely alone, or the numerous difficult meetings and uncomfortable conversations. I could catalogue my failures and the days when I was convinced my successes would always be outweighed by my mistakes. It wouldn’t be hard to find the instances where I’d let myself and other people down. I could paint the whole year in the blacks, browns and greys of disappointment and difficulty.
But that would not give the full picture.
Whilst the last year has been hard, it has also been bursting with much to celebrate. This has been the year of friendships, new and old. I have had many times of laughter and community. I have felt my roots go deeper into this place I call home and my support network grow. Some of the walls of isolation that built up since I became ill, have been broken down. I have more friends that I can have real and honest conversations with, and share life with, the good and the bad. That doesn’t make life any less raw and difficult at times, but it means I do not have to carry these difficulties alone.
I have watched my confidence grow in a job I enjoy. There have been numerous challenges and there still are things weighing on my mind. But I don’t doubt that I am exactly where I am meant to be. I know I am blessed to work in a place where I can do good and help people. I have felt my heart stretch with compassion for the clients I’ve spoken to. I have been the voice on the end of the phone for someone feeling desperate and alone. I get to bring some hope into those situations.
Whilst this year hasn’t brought much more clarity on the church front, it has given me the chance to press into God and discern his voice above all others. Not being able to sing has meant I have had more time to work on the songs I’m singing when no one else is listening. I am digging deeper foundations and waiting for the wisdom to know what to do next.
In amongst the good, the bad and the grey, there has also been some truly golden moments. Those days where all that is difficult in your life seems to melt into the background. My Birthday was one of those days. It was a day filled with happiness, simple and pure. I felt surrounded by the love and friends and family near and far. It was filled with the moments where it didn’t seem to matter that I was tired. Life that day was golden and worth the fight.
It can be hard to hold onto golden moments once the reality of everyday life presses around again. Following that day has come a tough week, where I have felt hard pressed on every side. But I know how important it is to hold your life with a sense of perspective, to experience the difficulty with the understanding of knowing that nothing is permanent. To view your life through the lens of hope. Each day is a blank page with opportunity to bring joy. No emotion is permanent and change is always possible.
So whilst life may be a little grey right now, I know this too will pass. I will keep choosing to be present and keep watching for those golden moments, with a heart filled with hope.