Recently, the juvenile rheumatoid arthritis I have lived with since age two has been really keeping me on my toes. To be precise, it is keeping me on the couch, in pain, in bed at wee hours with my eyes wide open as I try to get comfortable, and, most importantly, it is keeping me wondering what to do next.
During times like these, and, sadly I must admit I am a veteran of these times, I tend to put my head down, get through my day with as much grace as possible, and reassure myself, several times a day at least, that this too shall pass. Then I wait.
And wait, and, most often, I have to wait some more. Sometimes I’ve had to wait for years. I’m not waiting around idly; I’m usually starting a new medicine, alternative treatment, or both, and doing everything within my power to feel better. But these things take time; and one thing that time has taught me is the power of perseverance.
Here is another thing time has taught me: suffering and pain are made much easier when you can find support. And here is the surprise- sometimes the most powerful support comes from people you’ve never met.
Viktor Frankl, Tina Turner, Dalai Lama, Marc Ian Barasch, Pema Chodron, Friedrich Nietzsche, RA Guy, Parker Palmer, Richard Rohr, Jacques Cousteau; these are some of my heroes and part of my secret support system. Real people, who have suffered, gained wisdom, and made powerful meaning from their suffering which has benefited many others- these are people I want to learn from. I lean on these great people and the things they have told me in their writing, speaking, and in their stories.
They help me to be a better version of myself on the inside, even when my outside isn’t reflecting this. When I ask myself, “What would Viktor Frankl do?” I’m never led astray. I urge you to find your own secret support system, and to call on your new found friends whenever you need them. Let them teach you well.
….And let me know how it goes!!!