(and by you, I mean me)

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when you’ve been in a great deal of pain for months on end... and prayed, screamed, begged for relief. when you’ve dreamed of the day where you could inhabit your human body in a way so many are privileged to do without effort, and that day finally comes.... where your pain thaws, eases just enough to inhale. and those days turn into a week, maybe even two, the body fills with incredible JOY. immense gratitude like no other.  and you think, I will never not pray again (even if your prayers looked like staring back at your tear stained reflection in the mirror, repeating one single word: please, please, please).... those days are the gift of everything you’ve prayed for. and you think, I will never forget. never forget what it’s like to be without this luxury of a pain- free body ....

but then you do, little by little. When anger or discomfort and all the little silent sorrows of living with an invisible illness, overcome that joy, you have to commit, you have to practice. Practice the cultivation of joy, of gratitude, even of able-bodiedness. It IS a practice. a discipline. a daily commitment, one that can feel like a chore- to swim though the sea of hurt and fear and stories that aren’t yours (but live deeply in your bones) ... and it means all the more. your gratitude is not saccharine- it is a bloody ugly mess that keeps your head above the muck. and damn, it is so much easier to breath up here. but even breathing is work.

and it’s not pretty. gratitude as the antidote to pain, it is a discipline that itself can itself break you. but when you’re broken that wide open, all you can do is let it all ascend. and you return to this discipline every single day. and maybe, just maybe this stretches into a few days, if you’re lucky into a week, or longer

... THIS, this is what healing looks like. it is not the absence of adversity- it is the transformation…your every movement, your walk, your exhales lived as prayer. and then someday you’ll look back in that mirror and maybe you’re still crying, but you smile through the tears at the person looking back begging:  please, please, please.

(and by you, I mean me)