Broken dreams due to chronic illness are important

Have your dreams ever been broken? Have you ever wept because something you hoped for will never be?
A ‘broken dream’ sounds like something from a fairy-tale or a Shakespearean sonnet, something which doesn’t quite happen in the 21st century.
Are you brave enough to admit to having broken dreams?

We all have dreams

Who lives entirely in the present? Very few of us! Even if we don’t label them as such, I think we’ve all had dreams, hopes or idealisations of the future.

For some of us, these dreams will involve loving spouses and healthy children.

For others it might look like a peaceful retirement, a satisfying vocation or simply, security.

Continue reading “Broken dreams due to chronic illness are important”

I am thankful (sorry it’s cliche!)

Thankful.

I am not going to say that I am thankful for my mum’s diagnosis. I’m not at that stage yet, and I’m not sure if I ever genuinely will be. Yet these past two weeks have left me with much to be thankful for.

So much more than I expected.

Yet I hesitate to share this reality, because it sounds too saccharine.

‘Practising gratitude’ has become a stock ‘self-care’ practice over the last few years and so I am scared of being ‘cliché’.

Not because clichés are wrong or embarrassing (we can’t all be hipsters and there’s really nothing new under the sun!) but because I don’t want my thankfulness to be seen as something artificial.

I am not thankful because I ‘ought’ to be, or because I ‘have’ to be, or because the Bible says I should be. I am thankful because I genuinely have a lot to be thankful for.

Last but not least, I can be thankful because I hold onto a Hope which exists in the aftermath. In the face of suffering and cancer leading to death forever, I would find it hard to be thankful for these things. Yet because I know these little bursts of light are only glimmers of what will come after death, I find I can be thankful.

And so I rejoice and I cry, and I do both at the same time and that does not reduce the potency of either.
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You cannot do it all (but what if you want to?)

When I think of ambition, I see someone fighting tooth and nail to get to the top of their career ladder
… and to be honest, that’s not me.

When I think of ambition, I imagine an athlete, struggling to stay ahead of their peers, striving for Olympic gold
… and to be honest, that’s not me.

 

When I think of ambition, I picture a work-a-holic father, shutting out his family and surviving on toast and beans in his desire for success
… and to be honest, that’s not me.

 

And yet, I’ve come to realise over the years that ambition can take different forms. Or perhaps what I am about to describe is not ambition exactly – and yet ambition is the best word I’ve found so far to describe it.

 

Ambition says, “I can do it all”.

What makes Ambition wrong?
What makes Ambition right?
Am I being called to give Ambition up? Am I okay with that?
 

And how can our ambition get in the way of our love for others and our calling to Watch?

Today this post is hosted over at my personal blog.
Read more about my thoughts and personal struggles with Ambition here. 
 

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LTCI 4: Why Illness is not everything

I recently went to a conference where I met a lot of new people.
Which (necessarily) led to lot of introductions – and because this was a writing conference, it also led to a lot of answering the question: what do you write?

Which in turn led to explaining about this blog, and after that, about my Loved Ones – namely, my mum and my sister. After the first five times I got my ‘blurb’ down pat:

“I write a blog about loving people with chronic illnesses, as my Mum has multiple diseases including pernicious anaemia and type 1 diabetes (with all its associated problems) and my sister had a brain tumour and now her body does not produce any hormones.”

It was a ‘neat’ answer, but after offering it a couple more times I found myself growing increasingly uncomfortable. I found it difficult to repeat, to the point where I had to practically force myself to say it and felt like I was rushing to get it over and done with.
Why?

Continue reading “LTCI 4: Why Illness is not everything”

LTCI 3: How to balance skepticism with love

Hello, my name’s Emily and I’m a Skeptic.
If this sounds like a therapy group meeting, you’ll soon understand why.
But first, take a moment. Could this ‘greeting’ be applied to you?

If you’ve spent any length of time wandering around the Interwebs (Hello, Pinterest!) you know that there is no end to the suggestions, prescriptions or affirmations for people with Chronic Illness.

And I have a big admission to make.

From someone who doesn’t have a chronic illness, I sometimes find these a bit odd.

3 postures to help with X disease.”
or
“The scent that will bring you peace even as you face X”
or even,
“Exercises you can do even if you have X”

At first I dismissed any such posts as ‘unnecessary’ – but now I try and approach them with humility. Why the change?

Continue reading “LTCI 3: How to balance skepticism with love”

LTCI #2: Am I my family’s keeper?

How’s your mum? How’s your sister?’

These are questions I get a lot. They’re great questions. They mean people are thinking about my sick family members, and it shows that the people around me understand that their illnesses are a rather large part of my life.

Most of the time I appreciate the time taken to ask a question like this, and the implied preparedness of the Asker to listen to a ‘deep’ response.

The other week though, I got asked this question twice, and each time it left me feeling guilty.

I bumped into my landlady as I was leaving my house, and she stopped me with a smile, and asked, ‘How is your mum going? And your sister’s health – how is it?’

I smiled in reply – and then froze.

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A letter to the parents who are chronically ill (You are not a failure)

“You are not your illness.”

Dear Parent with a chronic illness,

You don’t have to say it aloud. I’ve read it in your sighs, your looks, your actions.

The confession.

The apology.

My sickness has damaged the happiness of my child.

I, who brought them into the world, who had all these plans, these hopes – have been able to do one percent of all I dreamed.

I wasn’t the one to bake with them, to take them to the beach, to bushwalk, to laugh – someone else did these things, and sometimes, no one did them.
A

m I a failure?
Continue reading “A letter to the parents who are chronically ill (You are not a failure)”

2017 taught me that my timing is not always right (and that’s ok!)

They say you never stop learning. Though sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what you’re learning while you’re learning it!

Often I come away from a season in my life with the sense that I’ve just learned something: that my character has been shaped, that my knowledge has grown… but am unable to put into words exactly what.

That’s why I Iove reflection. Over the last few months there’s been an increasing pressure on my soul because I learnt something in 2017 that is important, and I don’t want it to dissipate as the calendar flips over.

Instead I want to cradle this truth close  as I march out into 2018. So here’s my attempt to put it down in letters on a white screen, so that the lesson might be worth the learning.

2017 taught me that my timing is not always right

2017 was full of projects…

Read more here

this post is published in its entirety on my personal blog, but I felt it was helpful for us over here too!

//What about you? What did 2017 teach your heart?

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Chronic Illness won’t let me celebrate the New Year 2018

As the old year ends and the New Year begins, society gears up to welcome in a new period of life. Parties and fireworks are often external signs of our joy and anticipation of a fresh start.

Many of us begin to make New Years resolutions… but the problem is these simply may not be applicable for you or your loved one suffering from a chronic illness.

With chronic illness, the most common resolutions may seem:

Unachievable (because you have limited energy):

Learn a new skill or language
Organise your life

Ridiculous (If only you had these problems):

Get a better work/life balance
Only party 1x per week

Heart-breaking (if only you could!):

Be the healthiest you possible
Achieve your dreams

Continue reading “Chronic Illness won’t let me celebrate the New Year 2018”

Twenty-Seventeen – your favourite posts

Only a few days left of twenty-seventeen! I hope you all had a lovely, rest-filled, Hope-filled Christmas.

For those of you who didn’t, I pray you were able to cling onto the hope that one day Christmas will conquer chronic illness.

It’s time for some stats! Out of the 54 posts published this year, let me share which ones you liked the most, and then I have a huge favour to ask you…

(These do not include the introductory – But what is Watching? and the About Me pages, both of which were very popular.)

So, without further ado –
Continue reading “Twenty-Seventeen – your favourite posts”