Thursday, May 26, 2011

A 2 Z: Acknowledgement and Acceptance

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I don’t blog often. I’m not the only blogger with this problem, so recently my friend Patty issued a challenge to her blogging friends called “From A 2 Z for U & Me.” The goal is to write one post a week with a letter of the alphabet as a idea generator. Obviously this week is A. (check out other A posts from the Linky tool on Patty's blog)

My fiction mind immediately thought of a fantasy short story about a young pregnant lady who lives in a culture that expects all first-born children to be given a name starting with A to honor the god of fertility and prosperity, Aath. This woman is learning about another god, whom her friend claims is the only True God. She is torn. If she goes against tradition and turns to this God then she and her baby could be shunned and face starvation, but if she honors the god Aath that turns out to be false, could the consequences be even worse?

I have the first page written and fully intended to have the whole thing finished by now, but alas, my fatigue is flaring at the most inopportune time, as usual. Having a muddled brain that feels doped up on sleep meds (even though it’s been weeks since I’ve had any) is hardly fertile ground to grow fiction.

However, even if I did have the story finished, I wouldn’t post it here. I’ve been trying to get some of my short stories published in some of the more well-known and well-paying children’s magazines like Cobblestone, Cricket, and Highlights. I’ve gotten several hand-written letters back with my rejection notices, saying that they loved the story and to please send in more—unpublished ones. So I think I will stop posting most of my stories online here or on FaithWriters before sending them in, and see if that helps my stories actually get accepted for publication. Sorry. ;-)

So that leaves me to think of another A theme for this week. Two words that keep coming to mind are acceptance and acknowledgement. I long ago accepted the fact that I’ll have serious health issues the rest of my life. But I’ve had this nagging feeling that something more is wrong than “just” the diagnoses I currently have. I’ve seen several specialists recently and they all agree that I have particularly severe symptoms, but none have any idea why. Maybe it’s just that my body is sensitive, but maybe it is something mysterious hiding in the background.

I’ve been analyzing (another a word!) why it’s important to me to keep digging. Of course there is the obvious reason that if the doctors know exactly what is going on, then they are that much better equipped to help me. But when it comes down to it, most of the things I’m wondering about are not much more easily treated than what I have already.

I’ve been wondering how much my desire for other people’s acknowledgement and acceptance of my limitations plays into this. If I have a disease name that the general public knows is very disabling, then when I say what I have then there is easy acceptance and understanding of my limitations. As it is, my main disease of Fibromyalgia affects everyone so differently that those who have heard of it may have a completely different idea of what it means than how it actually affects my body, and the other people haven’t ever heard of it anyway.

I do think that is only a small part of my desire to keep investigating my body’s dysfunctions, and the most important reason is to be accurately treating what I really have, but it has made me think. How often do we humans look for acknowledgement or acceptance in odd places? The name given my disease and the response that triggers from others does not change what my body is experiencing. The fact that someone else looks at me and sees a normal-looking lady and perhaps sees me do an activity in which I seem to function fine does not mean that I’m not experiencing pain or fatigue, or that even if I function fine then, that I won’t crash for three days after the event.

In the same way, if someone looks at us and thinks we aren’t good enough, or aren’t pretty enough, or aren’t ______ (fill in the blank with whatever inadequacy you struggle with), does it change anything? Our feelings, if we let it, but it does not change who we are inside. That brings two important truths.

The first is that the only acknowledgement and acceptance that really matters is what we get from God. He created us. He knows every weakness, every limitation, every strength, and every skill better than we know it ourselves. And even with that knowledge, He accepts us. He loves and cares about each detail of our lives, about each up and down, each frustration and thrill no matter how minor or major. That is the truth we hang onto, no matter how any misunderstanding person treats us in this world.

The second important thing is that we as Christians should give that acceptance and care to each other. Yes, be brave enough to gently point out sins, but care enough to really know and support each other. Care enough to love no matter what flawed package the other comes wrapped in. Take the time to listen and try to understand what day to day life is like for our brothers and sisters, so that we can support, pray for, and encourage them that much more effectively.

I’m so very grateful to be surrounded by so many people who do put this into practice. As I mentioned in my last post, the church I’ve been at for the last year is amazing, and so often everyone seems to know just what to say and just how to pray for me. That’s because they’ve cared enough to get to know me, and I’ve opened up to let them, and to give support in return. My family and friends are also very supportive.

I will continue to look for answers to my health, because right now I feel that’s being a good steward of my body. On June 9th I have an MRI to help rule out MS. I finally have a primary care doctor, neurologist, and cardiologist who do care and are trying, even if they don’t have all the answers. But I will not look to diagnoses labels for a path to acceptance and understanding from those around me. I don’t need it for that. I already have that in perfect form from my Heavenly Father, and in imperfect but still good form from my family and friends.

And that’s plenty enough.


Barbara Lynn Culler said...

Yay, you did it; You got the blog out!

It must be very frustrating to have "invisable" disabilities.

But Amy, you are such an overcomer. Look how you keep plugging along, despite the pain and fatigue!

Rita Garcia said...

Amy, Barb, is right--you do and accomplish so much, even in face of great adversity. You are victorious! Great post! Love you!

Rachel said...

As a mother who had to push and push and push to get her son's Celiac Disease diagnosed I want to just encourage you to keep fighting. You sound like you do a great job already.

Praying for strength!

Patty Wysong said...

Amy, you are so right! Acknowledgement and Acceptance is something all of us... at least most of us... struggle with. And yet we need to keep looking to God who acknowledges us enough that He sent His Son. Wow. And accepts us. Double wow.

Thanks for this reminder!!
You inspire and encourage many of us, and have for years. Thank you!


Joanne Sher said...

Yes - you are SUCH an inspiration, Amy. You KNOW I'm praying. Love ya, sweetie - and good for you for blogging!

Lisa Mikitarian said...

You are so much more than your physical limitations--never forget that, Amy! You hit "a" out of the park--looking forward to "b".

SavedbyChrist said...

This is a good and creative blog. I will come back to follow the next letters