Phew…It feels good to be back. Good to be writing again. Good to have some time, again, to be still, to be quiet, to think my own thoughts…. So good to have all the kids in school again! 🙂 We had a good summer–full of traveling to see family (a week at the beach with the in-laws, a couple of weeks in upstate New York with my family); traveling to camp (three kids, three different weeks at camp, three hours away one-way = eighteen hours on the road over the course of the summer just taking them to and from camp!); traveling to the local pool on occasion; and traveling around the back yard, pushing the lawn mower more than we ever have before due to a productive and lovely monsoon season (i.e., lots of rain!)! So, yes, it was a good summer. But wow, am I grateful for public education, and even more grateful that here where we live it begins in mid-August! 🙂
So, before getting into any heavy-duty reflections (fear not–I do have some rolling around in the recesses of my mind!), I’ve decided to allow myself to ease into this writing thing again with something of a lighter-weight topic. You’ll have noticed, perhaps, the title of this post: “Simply Semantics.” You may not have noticed, however, the title of this blog–the new (and improved?) title: “Living with Chronic Fatigue: Becoming Stronger By Being Made Weak.” Until very recently, it had been named “Wrestling with Chronic Fatigue…and Coming Out Blessed!” I changed it.
So why the change? Is it simply semantics? Simply a change of the former words to the current ones, with generally the same meaning? Did I just get tired of the old title and decide it was time for a change? My husband will vouch for the fact that I am not a person who thrives on routine and consistency but rather likes to “shake things up” from time to time! Is that what drove this change?
Nope. I wanted to try to say more in the title of my blog about how I’ve experienced this season of fatigue. I wanted to try to encapsulate it more accurately. And I wanted to use a phrase that did not include the word “blessed.” Yes, really. I have struggled with that word, that concept–the idea of being blessed, of receiving a blessing––and what is suggested in its everyday use, for a long time. It is a word readily thrown around among people of faith in our culture. We say we are “blessed” when we are experiencing good health. We revel in our “blessedness” when our jobs are secure, our kids are well-behaved, our finances are stable, our friends are true. The birth of a baby is a “blessing”; the recovery of a loved one from an illness is a “blessing.” And in my case, via the title of my blog, I claimed to have been “blessed” by the discovery of Beauty and Good in the midst of some pretty crummy circumstances.
All of that would seem to imply that blessing comes when things are good. That we are blessed by the good-ness of our lives–good health, good kids, good friends, good job, good things coming to us, good things coming out of bad…. That God has blessed us with all of these good things….
So those who struggle in any (or all??) of those areas, or any number of others, have not been blessed? in any way, shape, or form? Those whose health has failed them, whose family has abandoned them, who experience a tragic death rather than a beautiful birth–have they no blessings? If I had struggled through this time in my life, looking not for the gifts but rather seeing only the losses, feeling only the frustration, sinking into despair and bitterness…would there be no blessing upon me?….
I don’t think so. I don’t believe that the blessedness that we have the opportunity to claim as people of faith is dependent on the circumstances of our lives. I don’t believe that the greater the number of “good things” in our lives, the greater our blessedness….
I do believe that we are blessed in our identity as a beloved child of God. Whether ill or healthy, at peace or enraged, surrounded by loved ones or painfully alone, freshly born or at death’s door, we can claim the blessing of being known and loved by God. Therein, I deeply believe, lies the root of our blessedness…..
And so, I decided that I no longer wanted the title of my blog to be “Wrestling with Chronic Fatigue…and Coming Out Blessed!” For the above-stated reasons, or at least, for the above-hinted-at internal struggle! I’m thinking I’ll save my thoughts on why I chose the words I did for the new title for my next post! Have a lovely weekend….