Friday, July 4, 2014

On Finding Freedom in Our Stories - an (in)courage post

It has been a crazy two months and more has happened than a simple blog post can express. I am sorely behind on putting my thoughts into words, but here is an attempt...

May arrived and, along with it, more pain. There was physical pain from an elbow which refused to respond to therapy and bracing. It ended up needing surgery, which happened at the end of the month.There was also pain from a shoulder torn up over years of sublocations and the warning of needing another procedure. There was emotional pain over seeing a husband struggle through depression caused by brain damage. Yearnings and trials with helping him recover and barely seeing any progress. Mental pain from the above and knowing there are people longing for me to finish my second novel, but the words just refuse to come. Becoming a co-leader of a (in)Courage group wasn't going so well. The women were not responding much to posts and the other leader was in her own struggles and couldn't help as much. I felt like a failure. It all was overwhelming.

In the midst of the pain, though, there was a hint of light. I had met a woman named Shirley. She believes in the Lord, prays to Him, reads His word and knows much of it. But there is a sad twist in that belief, that "religion" which pulls away from faith. However, we decided to learn each others common ground. We took a Bible study from her religion and used my Bible to go through the scriptures related to it. Each Wednesday afternoon we dug into our hearts and started to tell our stories. She loves my garden and is fascinated with how I try to manage my genetic condition. She has an autoimmune issue and her new doctor was having her try some of the things I've done for years. Me? I was loving having someone next to me that I could talk to and share with. She is so compassionate and I can see she has a heart for people a mile wide. She brought friends over sometimes and Community was starting to be built here at the house. The same place I sometimes feel trapped. I know we will soon get to a point where we collide. Some things her religion follows is far fetched and those I grew up around, the conservative Christian community, call it a cult. Until then, I rejoice in our similarities and will forever love that bit of freedom we have in telling our stories every Wednesday.

Another light was much bigger and it came with my surgery. I had asked the other (in)courage leaders to pray for my surgery and recovery. The post mentioned my Ehlers-Danlos and a woman stepped forward the next day. Jenni was in the midst of getting her daughter diagnosed with the same condition and it was also believed that she herself has vascular EDS. We bonded instantly and she was quick to show me a online support group for those with EDS and related conditions. Through her and the new group, I learned more about my condition in a week than in the past four years! Through our stories I heard of easy home therapies which I started immediately and found great success. Recovery from surgery was easier and the wound healed properly, because I learned from that groups leaders how to properly care for it. Jenni and I found freedom in our stories. We now have our own little group with her, I and another wonderful woman whose son seems to have EDS too.

Freedom happens when we step out. This is what I have learned in the last two months. I pushed myself to try community again. Prayed for doors to open so God could push me into what I had been digging my heals on. Now, I am feeling the urge to take the next step... to try to find a church again. This scares me more than anything. Since the start of adulthood, my experiences in a church setting have been mainly negatives ones. There will be a lot I will need to look past so that a bit more light and a bit more community can be found. Perhaps more freedom while sharing our stories will be the end result. We shall see.

#(in)courage, #community #freedominstory, #Ehlers-Danlos, #EDS,