I've lost a lot in the past six years...
I've lost weight. Lots and lots of weight. I've lost cushion on my bottom and covering on my chest. I've lost color in my skin and what little thickness I had in my hair.
I've lost my body's ability to digest, absorb and nourish. I've lost my physical ability to thrive. I've lost temperature regulation and vision. I've lost the dependability of balance and my hands capacity to grip and hold.
In illness I've lost the security of health and wellness. I've lost the memory of what it feels like to have a chronically normal, symptom-free body. I've lost the remembrance of waking up without urgency. I've lost the serenity of living without hot flashes and muscle flares. I've lost the comfort of sitting without pain and spasms.
In the past six years I've lost more than physical functioning. I've lost love, experiences and relationships. I've lost future plans I thought were a sure thing. I've lost dreams that I had come to cherish. I've lost fantasies I so wanted to hold onto.
I've lost memories of family gatherings. I've lost friendships that I couldn't sustain. I've lost opportunities I couldn't capitalize on and adventure I couldn't commit to.
At times I've lost my humor. And even my ability to laugh. I've struggled as I've tried
not to lose my smile.
But I've never lost my eye brows. My thick, always-in-need-of-plucking eyebrows. The eyebrows that ladies at church have always envied. The eyebrows that needed tending to since I was a young girl. The eyebrows that plagued me as a teen with their furry, unified shape. Those eyebrows are still the same.
And so is the girl wearing them.
The past six years have been years of loss in a million ways. Physical, emotional, relational. I've lost more than I've gained. But what I've gained is more valuable than what I've lost. What I still have is more important than all of the multitudes of features, comforts and securities of memories gone by.
What I still have is more glaring and permanent than the diligently plucked uni-brow above my eyes. I still have God's promises. I still have His utterly holy, gracious, merciful spirit sustaining me. I still have Christ's strength and power that can't measured in pounds and ounces. I still have vitality that doesn't run physical races because it's too busy running spiritual marathons.
There are so many things chronic illness has ripped out of my life. It has caused me to lose things I wanted to keep. Things I couldn't imagine living without were pried out of my weak, sweaty hands. But from all of this loss I've learned something. I've learned that I've only lost what isn't lasting and what I don't truly need.
In the past six years I've lost the things that used to keep me from seeking Christ. I've lost ignorance that has blinded me to my pride, arrogance and sin. I've lost false security and make-believe peace. I've lost the chains of my past and misguided visions of my future.
And I've gained my soul.
So I guess you could say I haven't really lost anything at all.