Will you love me when I’m not myself?

There are times when those with chronic conditions will have a bad day or even a bad number of days. They fight against this gnawing fatigue that robs them of the joy of living. I know this because my wife, Karen, and me, deal with the daily struggle of me having two rare auto immune conditions and a rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder called oliviopontocerebellar ataxia. The condition affects mobility, at times speech and ability to swallow.If you don’t know what that is you’re not alone. My neurologist even had to look it up. It is diagnosed by a gerontologist when I am only 38! I feel out-of-place for a while in rehab with people over twice my age. The truth be told I had problems keeping up with some of the older patients:)

Every day for those with chronic conditions like B12 deficiency, parkinson’s disease, chronic fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivity, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder(C.O.P.D.), cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy is a day of choices. They fight that daily battle with what their mind wants to do and what their body says it will do.

People with hidden challenges our eyes don’t always see such as those with learning disabilities and mental illness deal with false perceptions from others, that they are weak and even that they consider themselves special. Ignorance either intended or unintended speaks words of death into those with challenges. Many with developmental challenges come from a history of being abused by the very people who are in charge of their care. I know this because I have seen friends I love and care about abused both physically and emotionally

I spend a whole night convincing a dear friend of mine not to commit suicide as I sing songs to him about a God who loves him. I speak the truth of the awesome man of God that he is. He feels worthless. The verbal abuse is the worst of all. He is discarded by the system as a waste,institutionalized simply because of his advanced cerebral palsy.Those vicious attacks on the true amazing people those with challenges are wounds them more than any knife or bullet. It is a murdering of the beautiful child of God. Emotional abuse filled with its hate-filled and destructive programming takes far longer to heal than any physical attack.

If people with health, developmental and learning challenges and those with mental illness are sharp with you or not as loving and kind as usual, try not to take it personally. I know it’s really hard to love someone who says cutting things to you. In many cases they don’t mean to act this way. It is a constant challenge  to love those who hurt us.

In all the stress of fighting my own chronic conditions there are times I say things to my wife, Karen, and others without thinking. The grace I am given is when the people who love me and truly know me cut me some slack. They know that if I am not being as considered in what I say it’s not intentional. Many people with brain damage have that area of their brain which controls their inhibitions affected. They have no filter to hold back what is on their mind. Many hate how this poisons their relationships with others.

 

I like this quote from G. K. Chesterton, who was a English writer,lay theologian, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, biographer, and Christian apologist.

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.

 

When I worked as a counsellor with The Salvation Army in correctional services, I am called every name one could be called. I experience in one instance the worst verbal abuse a seasoned correctional counsellor saw in his career. It was practical training for me as a teenager and then as a young man in what grace, love that is undeserved really means.

In a tougher journey of forgiveness my Lord called upon me to forgive a young man who threw a pillow at me, nearly knocking me down the stairs of the community residential centre (C.R.C.) I was working in. I thank God that I saw the pillow coming at me in time that I was not so startled by it. It takes a lot of love in your heart to forgive a person who is wanting to harm you.

This young man wanted to know if I would love him no matter how awful his behaviour got. He would look at me with a penetrating stare that sent a chill running through me. As he would fix his eyes upon me determined to frighten me, in my thoughts and prayers for him I felt how unloved he must have been to have grown this cold inside..

When I showed this young man love that he didn’t deserve, he changed in the way he interacted with me. I even managed to get a few smiles and laughs out of him. He still had his behavioural problems. Yet, he saw what true love was maybe for the first time in his life.

If I had given this man what he deserved, I could have made certain he received more punishment for his actions. My Lord through many teachers and mentors gave me the gift of communication, which I could have used to destroy his life. What good would have been done by getting even? None.  The best gift I could give him is my forgiveness.

If Christ forgave those responsible for mocking, insulting, beating and then crucifying Him, then we should do all we can God helping us to forgive those who have offended us. I know it’s tough. I could have chosen to never forgive my schizo affective father for beating me more times than I would care to remember of telling me I was lazy, stupid, a disappointment and would always be a failure. God would not allow me to stay in that prison of hate. I thank my Lord that He did not allow me to carry out the vow I made at age 11 that I would kill my father.

I paint for you this scene from my life. I am five. I see my mother hanging from the awning of our bathroom door. I cry out, “Mom! Mom! Please don’t die! ” I feel helpless. I think it is my job to protect her. I feel like a failure. The tears come and they keep coming. Dad in a lucid moment cuts Mom down with a knife.

The stress of the constant physical and emotional abuse of my father causes my mother total blindness for several months. The last straw is when I discover my mother in the corner of our basement storage room. Dad dragged my mother down the unfinished stairs. Some of the splinters could be seen on her legs.  A poison of hate went through me. I determined I would find a way to kill him.

My plan is to get my father so livid that he will come at me. I will take a knife and plunge it into his chest, giving it an upper thrust and twist it like I had seen in so many TV programs and movies.

God answers the prayer I make at age five under the willow tree by our home My mother, brother and me escape when my father is out driving taxi.

I was well into my thirties before I started on my journey of forgiving my father. After over three years of professional counselling I am much further along in that journey of forgiveness.

Let us all be more patient, loving and forgiving with one another. We all are people in process. We are God’s masterpiece in the making. Your life and the lives of those you touch with your patience, love, acceptance and understanding will be better for showing your heart that forgives.

http://marmarthunder.wordpress.com/

 

16 responses to “Will you love me when I’m not myself?

      • The entire theme of us “not always being our best” and the behaviors (often poor) that ensue resonate with me. I have a son diagnosed with autism and when he was a lot younger he would have “bad” days. It wasn’t a condition that was going anywhere so I often did not know what to expect one day to the next. That would also push me to have my fair share of “bad” days when I want to behave one way but I allowed the stresses of life to pull me in another direction.

        True love is unconditional. No matter what the behavior, you never stop loving the person. That is God’s love for us.

        You are so open and raw in your depiction of your battle with forgiveness and your father it shows me how trivial some things I’ve been struggling to forgive really are in comparison.

        Lastly, I love how your writing shows you continuing to push forward and not victimized by your own chronic condition. I come across many people with chronic conditions on my “day job” who do not have such fortitude not to mention those who have no chronic “issues” to speak of yet moan and groan to no end.

        I always enjoy your posts. I don’t always comment or “like” them mainly because I’m reading on the job when I can sneak a break (cell phone ban) but they always inspire 🙂

        B Blessed this week yourself! Lilka

      • Hi Lilka

        It’s really not important to me that you indicate like on my pieces. I care far more about people and their journey. As bloggers we can get too caught up in the number of people who like and comment on our pieces. Just let me know you’re around from time to time making a comment here and there only as you are able to.

        Austism can be so difficult to deal with from the viewpoint of the caregiver. It’s even more challenging when you have a son or daughter with autism. I know a pastor’s son who has severe autism. He has broken so many things in their home. I saw him smash his father’s head against a wall in church. He can become quite violent. It would be understandable that out of sheer exhaustion you have your own bad days.

        Each person struggles with their issues at their own level. Your journey of forgiveness is your journey. If for you that is difficult then that’s how it is. We too much tend to compare our suffering to someone else’s. While we can easily find those who have it worse off than us, neither should we deny or minimize what we are feeling.

        I don’t have to care for someone who has autism. If anything I am uplifted and honestly relieved by that fact. In all frank honesty I wouldn’t have the energy you have is dealing with such a challenge.

        I do agree that when we see someone struggling more than we are it hopefully gives us all the perspective that we have more blessings than we realize.

        I feel it is important to be open and raw with me struggle of forgiveness, because others will connect with that. I pray they will be encouraged and supported through my openness. I hope it spurs them on to press on in their challenges.

        I will admit there are days I cry out to God and say, “I didn’t ask for this difficult journey.” I choose though not to remain there, because it really does become self-defeating. My journey is what it is. Lilka, when I read your encouraging and uplifting note, it is right up there among the inspiring comments I have received.

        Your comment has put a greater resolve in my spirit to keep on fighting for my Lord through all those stretching and challenging experiences.

        You are an amazing warrior for your Lord. In all the tough times please never forget that.

        I have no doubt in my heart as I see you with spiritual eyes that you are a blessing to so many people.

        Keep shining your light. It radiates from your writing and the beautiful soul I feel in it.

        I open you up to the river of God’s richest blessings!

        Kevin

      • Thanks so much for blessing me with your words. I have had quite a few “moments” lately trying to press forward and against negative thoughts that bombard me.

        You are correct that we each have our own journey. Hopefully we can encourage one another along the way. You have certainly done that for me today. Words cannot express the comfort and affirmation you bring from our God. I can only say thank you.

        May His peace, grace and blessings fall upon you. Lilka

  1. Awesome, simply beautiful, and yes he is talking to u, such true lyric’s.
    Luv this so much, thank u for sharing, so much luv and peace.
    God truly belongs to all of us.

    • Thank you for those touching thoughts and affirming me in what I wrote. All of us have those days when we aren’t ourselves. This is when those who love us need to give us the grace of forgiveness for ill-thought words.

      Yes, God truly does belong to all of us, even those who are searching and yet not believing in Him.

      Sending you a rainbow back of God’s peace and joy.

      Kevin

      • Thank you for sharing those beautiful words Kevin.
        They are so true, I will appreciate it, it’s what we need to hear sometimes, thanks again my friend.
        Much luv and peace

      • Thank you for sharing those beautiful words Kevin.
        They are so true, I will appreciate it, it’s what we need to hear sometimes, thanks again my friend.
        Much luv and peace

      • Thank you for sharing those beautiful words Kevin.
        They are so true, I will appreciate it, it’s what we need to hear sometimes, thanks again my friend.
        Much luv and peace

      • Thank you for sharing those beautiful words Kevin.
        They are so true, I will appreciate it, it’s what we need to hear sometimes, thanks again my friend.
        Much luv and peace

      • Thank you for sharing those beautiful words Kevin.
        They are so true, I will appreciate it, it’s what we need to hear sometimes, thanks again my friend.
        Much luv and peace

      • Thank you for sharing those beautiful words Kevin.
        They are so true, I will appreciate it, it’s what we need to hear sometimes, thanks again my friend.
        Much luv and peace

      • Thank you for sharing those beautiful words Kevin.
        They are so true, I will appreciate it, it’s what we need to hear sometimes, thanks again my friend.
        Much luv and peace

      • Thank you for sharing those beautiful words Kevin.
        They are so true, I will appreciate it, it’s what we need to hear sometimes, thanks again my friend.
        Much luv and peace

      • Thank you for sharing those beautiful words Kevin.
        They are so true, I will appreciate it, it’s what we need to hear sometimes, thanks again my friend.
        Much luv and peace

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