I should have started this blog months ago, years ago even, when I first became ill. But as in all of life, we don’t always realize we’re in the middle of something big right away. Sometimes never, actually. But 26 months into my diagnosis, I realize now how God has walked through this with me, all 805 days and counting. (If you’re interested in a quick summary of those days, click on the My Story tab under Help for the Journey. Otherwise, we’ll unpack what’s happened as we go.)
Another reason I haven’t started until now is that, along with living in denial, I’ve been living in fear. Not of my disease or survival so much, although some days those can swallow me up. Mostly, my fear has been that I’m not ready to write this; I’m not equipped. This isn’t some cheap romance novel or insta story. This is the most important story of my life, and contains a miraculous message. So I waited to be “ready.” But then I realized that I don’t want to die with this story inside me. It was meant to be bigger than that. It is God’s story and He has entrusted me to tell it, however imperfectly.
So that’s my mea culpa. Bear with me as we write this story together, as I try to be as honest and hopeful as I can, and as I continue to learn to trust in God’s perfect storyline. What I have to say is not just for those with heart failure, or even chronic illness. Rather, it is to people who just because they’re people are hurting in very real ways, and trying desperately to continue on with their lives.
Disease has confirmed my suspicion that we’re all much more alike than we are different. All uniquely human, but all made in the image of a marvelous God. Although my experiences are not your experiences, my triumphs and disappointments are somehow shared and even universal. In that way, this is everyone’s story, and I want to encourage you to help me write it. For my part, I pray that whatever perhaps awkward transparency this introvert can muster might help bridge a crumbling hope or calm a paralyzing fear.
In that vein, I am occasionally called on to share my survivor story. That sounds so important and almost revered. Truth is, if you’re reading this, you have a survivor story as well. What separates survivors from the rest? We’re simply all survivors until we’re not. I’m under no illusion: my survivorship, like yours, is a temporary assignment. Still, my story isn’t finished yet and neither is yours.
CS Lewis said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” We all have things we wish we could redo: mistakes we’d correct, circumstances we’d rewire, relationships we’d mend, diseases we’d erase. But we grow faith in those dark places like we never could in success, or calm, or health. Yes, the ending to my story and yours is still being written. We’re all still somewhere in the messy middle. But we shouldn’t lay too much regret over what’s already happened. The whole of your story and mine has brought us to this moment: the point to be seeking God and His purpose for the ending we want our stories to have. You bless me by choosing to be part of mine.