Chronic Dairy

4/4/22.

It’s settled. I’m not going to my son’s wedding. I find I am resenting having to explain, to…justify not being there. Would I get the same responses if I had cancer? MS?

It’s all you have to do-ism.

Breakfast: tuna salad, bone broth. Lunch: homemade minestrone, hardboiled egg. I made the minestrone myself in the crock pot two days ago but I could not have done it today.

A year ago today, I was diagnosed with shingles. That lasted through April. Here I remain, in bed. I would gladly return to simply shingles.

4/5

I felt dreadful today. I cannot figure out why.

Spoke to the person at rehearsal dinner venue and chose the menu.

4/8

I am forced to be my own advocate. That hurts and costs precious energy. Some people are so severe they do not have that energy available.

“But if this med doesn’t work, you will just have to come in.” Like thats an option I’m just preferring not to use. Like that is an option. This from a medical provider.

I am definitely getting the impression I will have to justify myself to people, to prove I’m really ill. Do you know another condition that requires justification? So my hardly able to leave my bed for a year doesn’t do it for ya?

Have felt variations on dreadful all week. I can usually identify the trigger. I’m at a loss.

OK, I have learned something more. I am having a crash because of the extended but minor infection with which I didn’t feel fatigued, but I crashed a few days later. God keeps showing me new things about this illness I’ve had for 28 years.

4/11

Yesterday my brother called. I knew why before he said anything. It was to tell me I should go to my son’s wedding. Oh snap, why didn’t i think of that? He tried convincing me I’m just depressed and I should get over it. I explained that I would hardly miss my child’s wedding because I’m nervous about traveling; I’m sick. I have a real diagnosed illness. He started challenging me: oh really, what is it? if you take a blood test will it show up? in other words: Prove it!

I declined to prove it. I told him I would send him something to read. I did, to read, to watch. The information is not equivocal. If he isn’t convinced after considering what I sent, it’s just not my problem.

I have had this thing for almost 30 years and nothing has changed in that time. There is no cure, not much in the way of treatment, no serious research money…and even though the CDC and the NIH and the Mayo Clinic and SCIENCE disagree, there is no widespread understanding that this is a real illness, just like cancer and MS. Your relatives are made uncomfortable by your stubborn refusal to get better in a reasonable period of time. We should feel for them, poor things.

A friend in a social media group for people with ME had the best response to his challenge: The fact that I am not going is your proof that I’m sick.

And that’s enough about that.

Diary will continue in future posts.

And No Religion Too-hoo

I recently joined a FB group for people who share the same illness I have been managing. This particular group has a ”no religious content” stipulation in its rules. Ok, I thought. I’m just here to glean helpful info and don’t plan to evangelize the group.

This morning, this post came across my feed:

FYI the ‘no religious content’ rule also covers the use of religious iconography and religious emojis such as the Buddha’s head and praying hands. These are harder to catch by the admin team so we might miss them in a thread but that doesn’t mean that they are allowed. Comments containing religious emojis will be removed by the admin team.

This was in response to this post by a member:

Hello admin.

Sincere apologies that I did the icon with 2 hands together. I meant it as a thank you gesture and did not see it as religious.

My mistake.

In Japanese it means please or thank you. Young people use it for that rather than religious. Also Hand together emoji Meaning. Depicting two hands pressed together and fingers pointed up, Folded Hands is variously used as thanks, request, and greeting as well to express such sentiments as hope, praise, gratitude, reverence, and respect.

Thanks for pointing it out to me. I simply had no idea.

Several comments posted in which members say they use the emoji all the time, though they’re atheists, simply as a heartfelt thank you. One person explained the precise translation of ”Namaste,” which is not religious, and is used widely the world over with this gesture.

The Admin replied:

It can have any of those 3 meanings: high five, thank you, or prayer.

We can’t always tell what the intent is, so just ask folks not to use.

Followed by:

An admin turned off commenting for this post.

If I take time to muse about these exchanges, my mind reels. But I’m going to sit with this awhile and probably write a follow-up post.

What are your thoughts?

Unconnected Thoughts

Cancelling is the world’s response to offense. The world’s yardstick is very short. Sympathy, understanding, forgiveness and hope is God’s response to offense. But we should remember his response is also perfect justice.

Note what Jesus tells parables in response to! Notice context. His parable is often in response to an exchange or comment before, and the connection is not always apparent unless you are noticing. We tend to parse Scripture but we can learn much by stepping back and taking in a wider view.

The way of the world is suffering. Jesus came into our world to be subject to it just as we are. He remained subject to this world we had made, remained subject to its political machinations, up til his death.

We cannot know God fully, but we are known by him fully, thank God. We can pray He will reveal himself to us, and to others…rather than shoehorning Him into our little box and presenting Him as such.

What Have I Learned?

God has answered every prayer. Small things matter.

This illness is a huge ferocious bear and I simply have no choice but to obey it.

Mindfulness. After almost a year trying, I still find it difficult to be still, meditate, keep my thoughts on my breathing, to get into a habit of dismissing pesky thoughts in order to to focus on my breath, etc. I also still fail to see the benefit. I understand learning techniques to calm down but I do not agree that avoiding thinking about difficult things will accomplish that. I would rather learn to encounter uncomfortable thoughts and learn to live with them or resolve them.

I like to think. And freaking out for a little helps.

Know you are suffering. Honesty with yourself is essential and it can take time to get there. Recognize the awfulness of your situation and proceed from there.

God is with me. He is going through my suffering by my side. I don’t know why I’m stuck here but I do trust Him.
I long for the day when I will look back and see that this suffering has been redeemed.

More thoughts to come.

Nothing Shall Be Impossible

To Mary:

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

To disciples from Jesus:

What is impossible with man is possible with God

when they wondered how a rich young ruler could send a camel through a needle’s eye.

Christ entering the womb of a virgin:

a baby where no baby could be.

Life created in an empty space

God living in a woman’s womb!

Christ entering the heart of each person:

Holiness, love, justice where

those things are not.

God present out of nothing, because we add nothing at all to God in our hearts.

But have we forgotten?

Creation.

God spoke life into a barren void

just like a virgin’s womb

like a human heart.

Mercy

My sin

is not that box of stuff over in the corner of the attic

forgotten, not mine

or my bad self

shut up in that closet in the basement

that I put on every couple years

rage

pack away under some old curtains and school papers

thoroughly ashamed.

I default to real self, nice.

No that’s all me. Who I am.

Payback and natural consequences,

Hopeless destruction

belongs to all me.

That is why we

why I

am to my core

grateful, thankful, chastened, humble

real tears

honestly praise

for Mercy.

Remember Who We Celebrate

Advent is a good time to read about the tiny child born in a manger, the humble beginnings of a remarkable life. But I am reading the omega of that story.

Let’s not pass thoughtlessly by the images in the Book of Revelation. Let’s not glaze over when we read the uncompromising declarations of Who He Is.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord,

“who is

and who was

and who is to come, the Almighty.”

“One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;  His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;   He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.  And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.”

I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

“Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.”

“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,  and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.”

And that’s only the first chapter!

The passages are visually astounding. The book is so visually strong. When we read Revelation, we feel like we’re strangers dropped off in a foreign country. That’s because we are. We are meant to feel overwhelmed, awed, small, lost. It is the place to open the eyes wide and be quiet, and to listen.

There are no grey areas in the declarations of His identity.

This Jesus-God from Revelation is the baby whose first cradle was a feeding trough. The all-powerful one is who He is now, without the disarming personas  He wore in his obedience and humility before His Father while on the earth. This One of the Book of Revelation is the One with whom we must make our peace.

There is only one response possible in heaven toward this One.

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,  saying with a loud voice:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

Jesus of Nazareth was among us on earth as a humble wanderer, a simple teacher who yet could not be suffered to live by the powers that were. These are the things He told us:

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you

You are my friends if you do what I command.

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

 

Let us remember Whose incarnation we are celebrating at this joyous Christmastime.

He came first as a newborn baby, as helpless and meek a creature as possible, in order to become one of us. The people of the world are at a disadvantage when we celebrate the lowly child’s birthday. It’s a comforting image; whether we regard the manger story as myth or history, we feel good about celebrating the poor underdog babe and congratulate ourselves on our insight about the disadvantaged child who would become the great teacher.

In the carol “We Three Kings,” each of the magi tells of his gift to the promised king. This verse from the third foreshadows Jesus’ life as a man:

Myrrh is mine: it’s bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

We who believe celebrate the tiny babe. And we remember that he is also the simple teacher, the willing martyr and the Resurrected One. He is the one to whom we are absolutely accountable. Ultimately we must remember the One who revealed himself to John and showed us who He is and will ever be.

He will not be disregarded by anyone. This babe is really the one with all power, the One who will be the Judge of all the earth, the one with the Keys to Hell and Death.

Kiss the Son lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him

 

 

 

 

The Jesus God

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Hebrews 1: 1-3

Human beings like to construct a God who we feel we are justified in rejecting. That way we can rationalize doing as we please, being accountable only to ourselves. We all do this. We prefer a Straw God.

But the book he wrote says we ought to recognize him by His Son. God = Jesus Christ.

We ought to see in Him not the god who commits genocide, the god who punishes disobedient children in eternal torment, the god who holds us accountable to silly rules and whose only response is to punish, the god who expects to be appeased. Or the god who winks at our mistakes because we’re really good deep inside. Not the distant god, the irrelevant one, the god of that Old boring Testament.

The Bible says Jesus represents God; He is the exact representative of who He is.  Jesus said so himself too.

I and the Father are one. John 10: 30


All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Luke 10: 22

I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me. John 5:30

According to God’s book, Jesus was one with His Father. At a real point in space and time, He came to be one of us.

Do you have any bones to pick with Jesus?  He went about doing good. He healed, he raised the dead, he lived an utterly selfless life.  He was always kind and patient. He validated the worth of women, children, the lowly, the socially unfavored, the outcast. Then…

He went to torture, humiliation, abandonment and painful death. This is how we should think of God.  Here was God become fully human, hanging on a torture device and dying of blood loss and suffocation. Not for his own crimes, but for some abstruse offense assigned to him by those in power who wanted him out of the way.

He had no crimes to die for. He died on the behalf of others who deserved to die: me and you. He did all of this to show us Who God is. That is the True God. That’s how we ought to think of GOD.

Then, in order to show us the power and acceptance of this self-sacrifice, His death was undone.  He became alive again. The penalty was accepted and it is we who are credited with forgiveness.

All I need to do is recognize this and accept his gift for myself. It is a gift because I can in no way earn it; God had to do this for me.

That’s who God is: Jesus.

Atheists complain that God doesn’t force them to live in His presence forever

If we can work our way to God’s approval, why did Jesus die on a cross?

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we see no angry judge, no distant law keeper. The son takes his share of the inheritance (while his father still lives) and runs far away, where he wastes all his gifts, his share of the riches his father worked for, and finds himself helpless and destitute.  Ashamed, he decides he will go back home and ask to be a servant in his father’s house. He decides that he has no right to call himself a son; he wasted this inheritance too. So he starts along the weary way home.

Meanwhile, his father is looking down that road, hoping to see his son in the distance.  He has no reason to expect it, yet he waits on that roadside. One day he sees his son in the distance, and he does not hesitate. He runs to meet him, he embraces him.  He calls him a son come back from the dead. With nothing but joy, he prepares a feast and a celebration for this son who has been restored to life.

The prodigal son brought nothing back home but his shame and humiliation. His bitter repentance. He had nothing to offer in order to buy his way back into his father’s good graces. His father’s response to his return was joy and acceptance.

We have to learn who we are, who He is, and what our real relationship with him is.

We can’t feel how ashamed we will be. We don’t see how humiliated we are. We do not reckon how bitter our repentance will be.

But the reaction to our repentance will be joy. Fellowship, sharing in the presence of our Father, living in his love.

You criticize a Straw God. You see Him as the distant judge, the petty scale-balancer, the angry destroyer. That is what we see if we’re trying to look at god in a mirror.

You omit God’s representation of Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. The parable is from the mouth of Jesus. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. I Colossians 1: 15

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1: 1-3

I and the Father are one. John 10: 30

Jesus chose to suffer the just recompense for offenses he did not commit. He paid our bill. He, the perfect penitent, had to do this for us. We cannot in our mortal life pay an eternal debt.

He died a torturous death so that we would not have to answer for our offenses, so that no one has to go to hell.

God …who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…1 Timothy 2:4.

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Ezekiel 18:23

For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:32

Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

Does God force us to love him? He could, but he does not.  My atheist friends keep declaring that they would prefer his coercion to anyone having the free choice to suffer an eternity apart from God. Yes, atheists complaining that God doesn’t force them to live in His presence…forever. Oh, the irony and contradiction.

God created people in his own image, like him in this one of many ways: we have the power to choose. God does not violate that god-like feature he gave us. He prefers that we make informed choices, that we are self-determined, that we are able to create, imagine, conceive of things we have not seen. He prefers that, knowing all that we know, we choose to remain in intimate relationship with Him.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

We have the free will to determine our way. There is plenty of evidence that to choose to love him is not foolish. The choice is ours.