This post explains my long absence from writing here…
Life is fragile. All of life on earth must come to an end. And there are thousands of ways in which the mind and body can be tortured. Suffering is very real.
And yet, I say, life is beautiful.
Most of 2017 has been very difficult for me so far. An ambulance came for me on the ninth and I was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Breathing takes extra effort for me anyway, with my little crippled up body, my torso twisted and deformed by severe scoliosis, my muscles weakened by my motor neuron disease – add an infection with lung inflammation to that and the act of breathing becomes the main focus of every waking moment. Thank God, the pneumonia cleared quickly and I was released from the hospital on the thirteenth. I knew that recovery would be slow, with continued coughing and weakness, but, slowly, I was beginning to recover. I was so happy. And then, on the 26th, I started a cold. A cold with a cough. It became a bad chest cold. And I knew that my period was coming, which is often painful, with vomiting and very heavy bleeding that leaves me anemic and even more tired and weak. I was scared. I dreaded what would happen and how much my little body could take. The mucus was too thick for my poor little lungs and chest to cough up and out, so that it blocked my airway many times. Although, always, thankfully, for just a short period. Before I accepted Christ, a similar airway distress would freak me out and put me into a panic. But, now, God helps me to remain calm. By the grace of God, I soldiered through even though I was completely exhausted. I’m still exhausted, still coughing, still bleeding, still choking up a little at times, but the medicine is working, God is good, and I do believe that I will get through this virus and be able to breathe without thinking so much sometime soon.
But, the fact is, when I first composed this piece in my head, I wasn’t sure at all. I thought that I would die. That’s not a dramatic thought. I came close. It doesn’t take much for this little body to go over the edge. And it scares me. In less than a month I caught pneumonia and then bronchitis – and I’m scared about what else can happen. I know that we all have to die sometime, but I don’t want to leave. Staying alive is so strenuous, so terribly difficult sometimes, as I know it is, even more so, for so many people…
And still, I maintain, life is beautiful.
It must be beautiful if I am so unwilling and scared to leave it. I love life and I love my family – my mother and father, my sister and brother-in-law, my two nephews – more than words can say. And I have a big family beyond that, too, and friends. I know that they will grieve when I die. I don’t want to leave them and I don’t want to think about them dealing with the heartache and sorrow of my loss.
Jesus suffered on the cross. He was filled with agony and dread, was tortured in mind and body and died in pain. He didn’t have to suffer and die. God chose to become a human being, to become one of us and suffer with us. Why? Because life is beautiful. Jesus chose to suffer torture and die for love. Redemption. Resurrection. For the eternal life of every person. Because life is good and love never ends…
If I could see the beauty in my own suffering, perhaps, then, I wouldn’t fear it so much. If my loved ones could see the beauty in my own death, perhaps, then, they will not mourn it so much.
God help us.
If I am able to continue writing, look for more posts exploring life and death, sharing the things that I need to tell my family and the world before I go…
© 2017 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.