Yesterday I was in the grocery store, in one of the scooters they so kindly provide...and I was struggling to get my groceries from the basket of the scooter onto the conveyer belt, when I lady came to my side and said "May I help you?" Gratefully I said, "Yes, thank you"...Now some people here might say that that was a copout...that I should "push back" against my illness, against my pain and have emptied my cart myself. If I was able to do it without pain or risking dropping something, I would have thanked her and done it myself. But why turn away a helping hand if it is really helping?
As the lady placed my food on the belt, we chatted. She said that she had both hips and both knees replaced. I said "Do you have RA?" and she said "yes". We compared battle notes....and she said "Oh, get your knees done and out of the way...Then, one day, you will wake and realize, the pain is GONE." Tears came to my eyes. No. That will never happen. There are too many joints involved...too much damage done and too many "asides" like OA and tendonitis, and old back injuries, which also contribute to my pain. No. the day will never come, this side of heaven, where I will wake and not be in pain.
After I left the store it occurred to me that I had not even mentioned the pain that is my most limiting pain. The pain that keeps me off of my feet: my ankles...One fused and still hurting and the other just miserable from the disease. How could I "forget" to mention them? I don't know. I didn't want to dim her bright smile. I did not want to give her a blast of reality. MY reality.
All of us...those with RD (Rheumatoid Disease) and those with cancer; those with mental illness or in a family with someone suffering--all of us have "our realities." And no one will understand our reality even if we were to write it on signs six feet high. The reason for that is that their reality is obscuring their view of my reality. The fact that they have no pain leads them to believe that either I also have no pain or that my pain is 100% curable. And I could stand beating my head into a wall and I would get further than if I tried to explain this to them because they cannot see around their reality.
Jesus often said "for those who have ears to hear or eyes to see" and he knew more than anyone just how blind and deaf people can be. How pigheaded, selfish, stubborn and ignorant. He encountered all of that. What makes me think I will do any better at he did at sharing the truth?