In the United States of America, we sniff each other out by what we do instead of who we are (and isn’t it safer, in some ways, to say, “I’m a businesswoman,” rather than, “I’m a compassionate, obsessive-compulsive Christian?”
Okay, so although I’ve been known to barf my innermost self to others, I’ll play it safe and describe the Human Doing that I was before I crashed like a Boeing on September 27, 2004.
BTW, I don’t mean to offend anyone’s sensibilities with that statement. I was a flight attendant based in New York when 9-11 happened and the subject is a tender one for me, too.
I had my suitcase packed for a 3-day trip on September 28, 2004 when I awakened in the middle of the night, my heart racing. The next day, I staggered out of bed, and that was the start of my nightmare. But let’s rewind.
In the years leading up to my crash in 2004, I backpacked around the world in my days off of work as a Flight Attendant, my paid profession from 1997-2004. My world was graced with color and stimulation, as I was given wings to see over forty countries in my mid-twenties. (The memories come in flashes and I’ve forgotten much, due to Lyme), but eyes that witnessed destitution fostered my ambitions for bettering a world ballooning with tragedy. Subsequently, I began to use my travel benefits to bring aid to South American hospitals and orphanages, and my airline buddies accompanied me on my jaunts. It was the seed of bigger ambitions that got squashed before they had a chance to take root and flourish.
Meanwhile, my type-A personality admonished me to finish a novel I’d started in 2002, and between 2002-2004 I cranked out four drafts of a manuscript which held promise but which later got dropped on its head when Lyme began screaming for my full-time attention.
Before this, and as I flew lower to the ground, warning signs of a crash manifested themselves as back pain, anxiety and creeping fatigue. I wonder if I hadn’t had routine 14-hour workdays with Lyme if I would have paid serious attention to the latter?
In any case, I entered my thirtieth year with the gift of illness and was slowly torn away from all the ambitions of my “former” life.
Fortunately and unfortunately, I am a single woman with no remaining financial assets and although God has had me dangling by a thread since day one, the string of His provision has not snapped and I’ve managed to pay my bills for the past two and a half years. Moving back in with my parents has meant living once again under someone else’s rules but I’ll take that over homelessness. Unlike what I did to my novel, my parents haven’t dropped me on my head, as some parents of chronically ill adult children do.
I am not the same person today that I was two and a half years ago, and God isn’t finished with me yet. I’m not healed, and my mind has come further along than my body so far. I don’t profess to know “the” path to healing, as there isn’t one when it comes to this labyrinthine illness. But I’m two and a half years of Internet Sofa Research ahead of the next person to get broad sided by Lyme, and yet many years behind those who have coped with this, chronic fatigue, and/or chronic illness for most of their lives.
I don’t know what my future holds but I have reticently given a quiet rest to all of my ambitions, except for two—to heal, spiritually, emotionally and physically, and to learn to love others and myself as God loves me.
I sense I am called to participate in others’ healing, however, and am heeding that call though I remain ignorant of the exact path I’m headed out on….it is a journey and to all who suffer along the journey with me…may you find peace along the way, too.