The mud is deep and thick and black. The smoothness of its surface is deceiving, drawing me closer to it with promises of contentment. It lures those who dare to tread upon it into its hidden depths. Hopes are dashed as one struggles for freedom. It is tenacious: Lift one foot upward and the other sinks deeper into Mother Earth. A sense of futility in escaping its grasp erodes the false optimism that once existed.
Life mimics nature. Dealing with chronic illness is similar in some ways as attempting to remove oneself from the quagmire of mud. When serious illness seems to appear out of the blue, it’s like dropping into a mud pit of life. I struggle at first in disbelief that I am in this situation; I wonder what I did to anger the gods. I seek assistance from those who may be of help, those who reach out their hands to help direct me to safety. But they somehow cannot quite reach my outstretched fingertips. Do they feel that they may become entrenched?
This darkness in my life has redefined my existence, my very identity. Strength and optimism have been infiltrated with weakness and doubt. A shroud has been placed over the future which seems so far away.
I must look deeper into my soul, to find that entity that allows me to stay afloat, to find myself again. I am stronger than this. I look for help to lift me from the sinking earth that lies beneath the soles of my feet.
I lift my face upward to my guiding light, for it is my guiding light that will lead me back home again. He lightens the burden which weighs down upon me. I have not lost my will, even though I am like a weakened tree no longer able to stand stoutly and securely.
I look to my healers to guide me, to bring comfort, to bring knowledge, to bring compassion. To be there beside me, to listen to my story.
Healers, peel away the layer covering your eyes so that you may see the obvious and the not so obvious.
Healers, peel away the layer covering your ears so that you might listen more carefully and attentively, even during the silences that are between us.
Healers, peel away the layer covering your hearts so that you might be more compassionate in your actions and sensitive to the unspoken word.
Healers, peel away the layer covering your lips so that you might be better able to utter words of encouragement and optimism even when I falter.
I look forward to a time when I will find joy in doing nothing, simply finding joy in breathing and in being alive. I will hold that hope in my heart, for the time when my feet are not weighed down in the earth, and my spirit soars freely. And I will wait patiently.
Michele Luckenbaugh is a patient.
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