The Chronic Pain of Chronic Pain

The Chronic Pain of Chronic Pain

“Push”
The push away
The tension
Cries
The in between
Disconnected lives

To carry on
Can be no more
The hurt
The pain
The days we mourn

What once lived here
We can no more pretend
Pushed too far
This is the end.

The most difficult thing to explain to non disabled people is chronic pain. It comes and goes without rhyme or reason. Sure, sometimes, experience dictates you might feel worse after engaging in activity but you never really know.

My life, never really one of feeling good in recent years, has been in a more extreme downswing over the last few months. Hence, my lack of blogs here.

…The one little thing I do as I can that makes me feel like I’m an active participant in the world… I can’t do. I just haven’t been physically or mentally able to keep going.

I hope that changes, it likely will improve a little eventually, and then revert back the other direction. That’s chronic pain. You just don’t know.

It’s exhausting on every level.

Sometimes, just to avoid giving up, you do things anyway although, again, it’s sort of a one shot deal knowing more pain is coming.

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Image description: Man with glasses, beard, blue hoodie, red shorts and gloves seated in a wheelchair. Woman with red hair, glasses, gray and white shirt, and jeans standing. Between them, team mascot standing; a brown dog with tongue sticking out and red shirt.

Last night, my wife and I went to a local minor league playoff baseball game – Awesome.

Today, I’m dealing with higher than normal (even by my standards) back and leg pain as a result – Not Awesome.

I’d love to get more sleep. About four hours a night is my average since my knee replacement in 2015. Last night was a little less and, frankly, I’m struggling.

At least we won the game

This is my life with chronic pain. I hope to write more soon.

Wherever you are this day, remember, Love Accepts You No Exceptions.

I’ll try to remember those words apply to me too.

Peace Love and Acceptance

Tormented by Sleep

Tormented by Sleep

“Tormented by Sleep”
Tormented by sleep
As hours tick by
Tormented by sleep
Let out a sigh

Pain is too great
Long to be free
Tormented by sleep
Gaslighting me

Available remedies
None presenting peace
Long for my release
Nightly enemy

Tormented by sleep
Day after day
Tormented by sleep
Take me away.

alone bed bedroom blur
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com Image Description: Person flat on stomach in bed. Covered completely by a sheet except feet sticking out.

There’s a lot going on in our world. I hoped to talk about some of it today. However, my body is not cooperating.

Disability is like that. You never know how you will feel.

Today, like many days, I feel bad. This is just part of my story.

All I have today is a poem inspired by near nightly painsomnia but I’m sharing because, if you are struggling with pain of any sort, I want you to know you aren’t alone.

That’s part of my story too.

Wherever you are this day: Love Accepts You, No Exceptions.

Peace Love and Acceptance

 

Why I Won’t Agree to Disagree But I Will Try to Listen

Why I Won’t Agree to Disagree But I Will Try to Listen

I hear a lot today about agreeing to disagree.

You know, “I see it this way. You see it that way. We’ll just agree to disagree.”

Sorry, I can’t do that. 

As my friend and great social-minded theologian, Samuel Mudge said recently,

“Agreeing to disagree doesn’t work for a whole lot of people because sometimes, two people are discussing something that is an abstract idea to one, and life-and-death to the other.”

Think about that for a second. I’ll use my most personal examples for clarity.

Not having access to plastic straws might kill me.

Doing away with healthcare protections might kill me.

Using mental health or other disabilities as your excuse because you don’t want to talk about guns or other issues might kill me.

That’s how it works.

The same is true when you endorse leaders who overtly or covertly use their power and systems as a means of oppression, exclusion, and hate.

They aren’t all created equal. People are dying! 

I will say this. We do need to listen to each other more.

I do believe most of us are not as far apart as it seems. Outside the top few, the people from the middle down are all being squeezed economically and otherwise.

Let’s work together to answer these more difficult questions. Maybe life isn’t supposed to be completely found in easy answers.

agree agreement ankreuzen arrangement
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We’ve lost our ability to sit across from each other; to hear each other, and to listen to our individual and collective pain. 

This isn’t a suggestion of mere tolerance. I’ll fight as long as I can against racism, ableism, and any other form of oppression, exclusion, and hate.

Inclusion is a table of equity and justice especially for people on the margins. 

That’s what Jesus’ ministry is all about. He restored people to equitable, just community.

This isn’t an over-simplified version of love the sinner, hate the sin. 

That’s just a slight modification of agreeing to disagree with a dash of power mixed in. That’s what got us here.

It’s just a reminder to listen because the cycle will never stop if we don’t do better. 

I hope you’ll join me.

Wherever you are this day: Love Accepts You, No Exceptions.

Peace Love and Acceptance

 

 

 

Give Me Liberty, Immigrants, Cripples, and Jesus!

Give Me Liberty, Immigrants, Cripples, and Jesus!

What you believe about the Statue of Liberty, immigration, disability, and our current US administration tells me everything I need to know about how you feel about Jesus and how you feel about me.

There has been a recent change to the immigration policy in the United States. It states that whether a person is admissible to the United States or not will be based on his or her likelihood of becoming a public charge at any time in the future, as set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The expressed goal is “to ensure that aliens seeking to enter and remain in the United States — either temporarily or permanently — are self-sufficient and rely on their own capabilities and the resources of family members, sponsors, and private organizations rather than on public resources.” 

Great, right?! Except how can you know? Beyond the obvious discrimination of people with disabilities like me, many of whom are fleeing violence, etc., it could be YOU at any time. Becoming disabled can and does happen at ANYONE. Further, if you live long enough you will almost certainly become disabled. Bodies don’t last forever without breaking down.

So, what does this mean? Unless you are super rich and elite, keep out? That’s sure what it seems like. What about Medicare? If you enter the country at a younger age and never need any public assistance, something you cannot know unless you are super rich, will you be eligible later in life? Does this exclude someone from coming to this country too? It’s a moving target.

Quite simply, we are moving toward eugenics. This should scare you into action! 

I know it won’t. I’ve been around nondisabled people long enough to know how little they think beyond their immediate concerns. You just don’t see yourself as me.

This is why we have a long history of locking away our disabled and elderly people. If you don’t see them, you don’t have to believe you will be them. You are wrong!

Speaking of long history, our current US administration recently stated that the words on the Statue of Liberty were for immigrants coming from Europe too.

I know, racism, shocking… Except, you should be shocked! You should be shocked into action against this administration and its policies. You have a voice. Use it!

worms eye view photography of statue of liberty
Photo by Jamie McInall on Pexels.com

Read more on both these things here or just look at the news or use a search engine. If you are uniformed or unshocked, you may be the problem.

Furthermore, any notion that you can support this administration while calling yourself Christian or pro-life is a farce.

(Admittedly, I’m afraid to make this connection not because it is untrue, but because some have used this as justification to say the Church should be charged with charity, healthcare, and supports instead of the government.)

Frankly, you are not just wrong, the Church is pretty bad at these things. Feel free to ask me about accessibility.

That’s just it. These people claim to be Christians yet the sit in direct opposition to Jesus.

In case you haven’t looked in a while, he takes the powerful in this world and turns them, and their systems, upside down. I mean, Jesus literally tells the rich guy to sell all his stuff and give it to the poor. (Matthew 19:21-22)

Look at the Beattitudes (Matthew 5:1-11)

For Christ’s Sake (Literally) The first Christians lived as a commune. (Acts 2:44-47)

Maybe that’s why the Church is dying.

As for the rest of it, what you believe about the Statue of Liberty, immigration, disability, and our current US administration tells me everything I need to know.

Wherever you are this day: Love Accepts You, No Exceptions.

It also seeks justice and inclusion for the people on the margins; even those least like you. Jesus talks about that too.

I’ll let you look it up if you don’t believe me because, “Carry your own weight,” right?

Peace Love and Acceptance

Notes: 1. Uscis.gov, 2. USA Today – 8/13/2019, 3. Biblegateway.com

 

 

 

Are You Hiding Behind Your Smile?

Are You Hiding Behind Your Smile?

“My Sanguine Shell”
Sanguine
Shell
Fake

Pain
Anxiety
Depression
Regression

Rudderless Ship
Assailed by Stormy Seas
Wave Battered
Sinking
No Release

SOS
Drowned
As Smiles Abound.

 

photo of thunderstorm
Photo by Rodrigo Souza on Pexels.com

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”Matthew 16:18

Do you ever wonder if others can really see you; not just what’s on the surface but underneath? It probably doesn’t happen most of the time. We’ve become good hiders.

That’s what I love about the dynamics between Jesus and his disciple, Peter.

Peter gets it wrong as much as right. He sinks in water instead of focusing on Jesus. He goes around chopping off ears. Still, Jesus sees and loves him. He sees the possibilities behind the fearful surface Peter exudes.

That’s the heart of God. It does the same for us. It strips away all the coverings of brokenness and finds the good underneath. Yet, I still wrestle with this.

I know God can see me completely, but I still cover it up. Talk about hubris.

I hide my true self from others too. Vulnerability is scary. They won’t accept me if they know my weaknesses.

Except, we all have weaknesses. Some of us might be better at hiding them but we all have weaknesses, fears, insecurities, and shortcomings. So, what if we didn’t hide them?

Maybe we’d all be better off if we were a little more honest with ourselves and each other. Maybe, we could engage in meaningful conversation and begin to break through all our divisions.

I don’t think it’s easy. Being vulnerable might be more difficult for us than building equitable systems and relationships and, frankly, we are pretty bad at both these things.

However, since I have to start somewhere. Maybe this change starts with me.

I hope you’ll join me in building coalitions of love, justice, vulnerability, and equity. In doing so I believe we are truly being faithful disciples of Jesus.

What do you think?

God, you see my heart.
You know my
hurts and pains.
You sit with me in my brokenness and comfort me.
Use me as you will to be open to the hearts of others.
Help me be open too that I might sit with them and together we might know your peace even amidst sadness and uncertainty.
May this be my p
rayer.

Amen. Wherever you are this day: Love Accepts You, No Exceptions.

Chronic Pain and Restful Resistance

Chronic Pain and Restful Resistance

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:25-27

Love Wins Wheelchair with Stole
Empty Wheelchair with rainbow colored clergy stole draped over back. White hat with Love Wins printed on it in black letters. A heart for the letter O in Love.

I’m in a lot of pain today.

Truthfully, I’m in pain everyday but, as often happens with disability, sometimes pain hits you hard. It’s too great to move on, literally.

The last several days, I’ve really been struggling. Chronic pain can be cruel that way.

Stress certainly doesn’t help and stress, both internal and in the world around us, abounds. That’s where rest comes in. Sometimes, by force.

This is one of those times. So, I’m not going to write a lot today, mostly, because I can’t.

Then, I’ll pick back up when I can.

I think that’s the point of the above scripture.

It’s not that you shouldn’t fight against the ways of the world. Don’t forget, this scripture comes right after the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.

Resist if you can and, if you aren’t in the fight at all or enough, begin! Start today!

It’s just that, ultimately, God’s Love carries on even when I can’t go further.

Remember that, justice warriors.

Take care of yourself and each other.

There will never be a shortage of injustice to fight.

Just look around.

Wherever you are this day: Love Accepts You, No Exceptions.

Peace Love and Acceptance  Notes: Matthew 6:25-27 from Biblegateway.com 

Racism Is Not a Disability

Racism Is Not a Disability

Today, I went to Canada for lunch because I didn’t want to worry about getting shot.

Sure, I live near the border but, America, we have a problem.

The problem: Racist White Extremists with Guns. 

Here’s what the problem is not: Mental Illness. 

I know. I can hear all the arguments now. “No ‘sane person’ would do this.” This thinking just allows us to dismiss our responsibility.

If the perpetrator doesn’t look like me, I don’t have to do anything, right? Except, these men, look exactly like me. They are white men.

That’s what’s scary. These men could be my brothers.

Ask yourself, “If these incidents were carried out by people of color, How long would it be before we took their guns away?” Yet, here we are, nothing.

Because, if I can convince myself someone like me wouldn’t do something like this, I absolve myself of responsibility. 

I’m not saying you don’t feel bad. I see all the offers of thoughts and prayers. I believe them sincere. I’m with you.

Just don’t be so quick to move on.

Look at the real problem of white male racism.

It’s not difficult to identify. These men have told you as much in their manifestos.

But, putting the blame on mental illness is easier. We throw words like “insane” and “crazy” around so much, they no longer mean anything.

That’s crazy or insane has too easily become our default language.

I do it too. I’m no saint. Let’s all try to do better.

I’ve too quickly offered, “I didn’t mean it that way,” as an excuse in the past. Only, that’s exactly how this happens.

Our word choices and terminology matter.

Instead of crazy or insane use unbelievable, extraordinary, or whatever it is you actually mean.

For example, “Our problem is Racism and White Extremists with Guns.”

White racism and guns are not disabilities.

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Picnic table with Old Smoke Burger Restaurant Hamburger in wrapper with soda, french fries and a lager beer bottle next to a cup filled with beer.

Think about it. When I wanted to feel safe, I went to Canada.

Save me a trip.

Save some lives.

Wherever you are this day: Love Accepts You, No Exceptions.

To be clear it also works for justice.

Peace Love and Acceptance