In my most recent post (“Simply Semantics?“) I drew attention to the fact that I had changed the title of my blog from “Wrestling with Chronic Fatigue…and Coming Out Blessed!” to “Living with Chronic Fatigue: Becoming Stronger By Being Made Weak.” And in true Deb fashion, I wanted to share some of my motivation for doing so, giving you a glimpse into the workings of my mind and soul…. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own risk! 🙂
Was 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. Not this time! 🙂 I wanted to try to say more in the title of my blog about how I’ve experienced this season of fatigue. Yes, it has been difficult. Yes, it has been frustrating. No, I wouldn’t have chosen to go through it had I been given the choice at the beginning of all of this. But none of those things are what I think of first when I think about this experience overall.
I think about the gifts that have come as a direct result of the fatigue. I think about the ways in which I have become “better” over the course of this experience. I think of the changes that have occurred in my life out of necessity, and I ponder how to be diligent in maintaining these new ways of being, should my energy level continue to increase and the “old ways of being” tempt me to return.
I don’t mean to say that the way I used to be, or how I lived my life before, was bad. Nor am I saying that my current reality is the only good. What I am trying to say is that I have found deep satisfaction in the slowing down and letting go of control that have been direct consequences of the fatigue. No matter that the slowing down and letting go was forced upon me, and initially were very unwelcome guests that clearly overstayed their welcome! And yes, there are moments when I still feel that way! But for the most part, I have come to deeply value the slower pace of life I have been living for close to a year now, and the gifts that have resulted from it.
In not being able to do, do, do for my family and friends, for example, I have learned that they really are quite competent to do for themselves!
In not being able to do, do, do for anyone, I have learned not only that I am in no way indispensable, but also, yet again, that my value is not dependent on my productivity.
In not being able to do, do, do, period, I have found more time to develop a deeper relationship with each of my children, spending more time with them in a less distracted way, and getting to know them each more individually.
There is more time to be with my husband, not only having fun together but learning more about who he really is and how he experiences the world around him.
And there is more time to think, to be still, to reflect–all things which are not only profoundly satisfying for me but also, I have realized, necessary for me to stay close to my true center and grounded in the Reality of God.
This experience with fatigue has, ostensibly, made me weaker. I’m no longer jogging; I’m no longer attending the fast-paced, muscle-building class at the local gym; I’m no longer racing from one volunteer activity to another, from one social engagement to the next. And I’m definitely no longer my most productive between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm (I’m not sure when I’m “my most productive” any more, to be honest!).
But at the same time, living with fatigue has made me stronger. I have grown in compassion. I have become, I believe, a better mother, a better wife, and a better friend. And I have developed a clearer and deeper sense of who I am and who I was made to be in the world.
I am grateful that I’ve been given this opportunity to experience what life can be like while living with chronic fatigue. I have become stronger by being made weak. Thanks be to God.