Today we attended a Memorial Day program in our community. It was very nice and a Vietnam veteran gave a touching speech that was very moving. I kept hearing a word that just stuck in my mind – remembrance. I couldn’t help but think of remembering in my life – specifically remembering what my life was like before RA.
I remember those ‘good ol’ days.’ I participated in competitive sports and fitness all my life. I can remember the first time my Dad took a baseball and hit grounders to me to practice. I was about 7 years old. I had a brand new glove and my brother and I were taking turns catching the grounders. Unfortunately, on my first turn the ball found a rock on the ground and took an unexpected bounce – right into my throat. I coughed a little and looked at my Dad, who immediately said ‘pick up some dirt and rub on it, you’ll be fine.’ And that I did, toughing it out as best I could.
I could do my own home repairs, mow the lawn, garden, run a business, volunteer – well, I could do anything I set my mind to do. That is, until that infamous year – four years ago when I just wasn’t feeling up to par. Little did I know what was ahead.
I remember what it was like not having to go to the doctor every few months. I remember when the lab tech could hit the vein on the first try. I remember when I didn’t see a doctor for years at a time. I remember when I had lots of energy, I could play sports, I could burn the candle at both ends. I remember when I could take my camera and hike all day.
I also remember when it all changed – forever.
A chronic disease is defined by remembering the previous life, but it also demands the commitment of determination, perseverance and acceptance.
This journey has not been easy. There are days I long for what my life used to be, but, it is no more. I was reminded of the verse in Luke – “no one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” There is no looking back – only moving forward.
A new day, each day. Perhaps a new challenge. Perhaps a new victory. Maybe a few moments of remembrance, but no looking back. My hand is on the plow. And if I take a hard and unexpected hit, I’ll just pick up some dirt and rub on it – right, Dad!