Living with chronic illness and/or disability is a daily struggle. Though some days are better than others, every day has its challenges, including feelings of isolation, rejection and depression. Sundays can be especially difficult for me. We all need people around us, to build us up and help us see our own true worth, but never more so than when we are dealing with illness, whether it's chemical sensitivities or some other chronic condition. I would rather not have MCS (now that's an understatement), but I don't have to deal with it alone, because I have FAMILY.
Today is my middle daughter Sharon's 29th birthday (Happy Birthday, Sharon!). In a comment on a previous post, Sharon says I am her hero. But that's backwards, for she is MY hero, as are all my children (and their spouses), grandchildren and my husband. I may have to deal with chronic illness, but they have to deal with me--with my ups and downs, my rantings and ravings, and always, the unpredictability of my condition. Through it all, they are my advocates with my adversaries (anyone or anything that violates my airspace). They lift me up when I am down and cheer me on when I am hopeful. And, when things seem most hopeless, they make me laugh and forget, even for just a moment, that life isn't always fair.
I know that not everyone has such a family to support them. We're told to turn to faith and our church community. But with MCS, it's hard to be part of a church community, and often other members are not very understanding. That's why we need to reach out to each other. The Internet is not the same as sitting in a church meeting surrounded by people who love and care for you, but, in our own way, we can establish community, even laugh and cry together, through this modern medium.
When my daughter Sharon was a little girl and she didn't understand something, she would shrug her shoulders and say, "It's magic!" I don't understand how computers and the Internet work, but I know that those who read and respond to what I write are real people, with real problems, real solutions, real feelings and real love. Okay, so I'm getting a little sappy here. But, you get the message. Family is more than just a group of people who are related to you by birth. We can be, for each other, the family we need. It's magic.