What defines me and if I were to lose everything would it be enough?
Recently I was able to sit with someone who had just received some news that pushed her over the edge wanting to end her life. A few years back she was involved in an incident that left her disabled. She is in pain all the time, she cannot stand for longer then five minutes, she cannot sit in a chair for very long, she has to wear continence pads. She also talked about the isolation she has been through, she cannot go and watch her kids play sport, she does not go out for dinner, she has missed out on graduations and does not go to weddings or other functions. She spoke about life before the incident. How she used to enjoy running, how important her job was to her and how family life was. But now she has lost everything that she was. She told me how her kids mean everything to her but she is sick of being strong and putting on a happy face, and this recent news has pushed her to think that to end it all would be easier.
This has got me to thinking, if I were to loose it all, either through an accident or MJD, would who I define myself as be enough? And who am I?
Am I a nurse, a volunteer firefighter, a guitarist, someone who enjoys hiking, bike riding and doing outdoor things. Am I defined as being a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunty, a friend. Am I defined by the things I do and the relationship I have or even the emotions I feel. If I am unable to do the things I once loved, does that then become who I was. Will not being able to do these things then effect my relationships. With family living so far away, will the friendships I have be enough for them to regularly put aside time to spend with someone that has trouble stringing a sentence together, and who understandably gets frustrated over trying to do the simplest of tasks?
Finding out that I have the MJD gene has made be think more about how I am living my life today and everyday. It has given me the chance to prepare for the ‘what if’ it happens. Not only thinking about it finically, but also not taking being independent, running, walking and driving for granted. I can now prepare myself so that who I define myself as now, can be who I am then. This whole who am I thing is only something I have been thinking about recently and it is still something I am thinking through because I want to make sure I get it right.
I recently met someone going through similar anxiety to what I went through and seeing her slowly take steps to take back her life inspires me as I know how much courage it takes. Anyway, she reminded me that no matter how shitty life gets we always have God. She then went onto share Psalm 63:3, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Hearing this verse reminded me that it is in God’s love that who I am is defined. My identity comes from what God has done for me and what God says about me.