Yeah, bet that got your attention, oui?
Don’t worry, I don’t hate myself. This isn’t going to be a 90s emo post (for those of you who remember the 90s emo days).
I have a friend who had a chronic illness, diagnosed later in life, and recently he was talking about how he wrestles with hating himself for being this way. And, me being me, this made me think, and this is basically a longer version of what I said to him.
I don’t hate myself. I’ve never hated myself. Hating myself for having CF would be about as sensible as hating myself for having blonde hair or blue eyes or freckles. It’s part of who I am, and I’ve never seen a reason to hate that.
Now, does that mean I hate some of the things it does? Well, yes. Do I hate the stress it puts on my family? Yup. How it impacted my siblings’ lives? Yup again. Do I hate always having to explain and sometimes wrestling with my body? Well….I don’t hate it but, but it’s darn inconvenient.
This is the way God made me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and yes, that includes my really screwed up genetic code. But that doesn’t make me hate myself. It gives me a different perspective, yes. But I’ve often pondered what my life would’ve been like without everything. I wouldn’t be the person I am, and most of the time, I like who I am. God made me this way for a reason, and part of my being on Earth is to use that reason for His greater glory.
In my first grade class, we teach the kids this at the beginning of the year:
Q: Why did God make you?
A: God made me to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world, and be happy with him forever in the next.
This is how I come to know and love and serve God.
I know some people have come closer to God because of me. Well, OK, not because of me, but because of my situation. The man I almost married had almost zero religious upbringing, but when I was in the ICU and almost dead, he went to a Roman Catholic church and prayed the rosary. He went to Mass with me, and he carried a rosary with him most days. I don’t know if he still does this, or if he ever became Catholic (I wasn’t going to make him convert, by the by), but I do know that he knows about these things now. He knows about prayer and its power.
Now have I been angry at God? On occasion, yes. But not because of being the way I am; it’s usually because I’m frustrated with the way things are currently going. Why did he give me the desire to be married and have children if that’s not going to be fulfilled (at least not yet)? I dunno. But I try to channel it in healthful ways.
I know people with CF who hate their bodies, hate the way their made. There’s a desire there to punish themselves for being “weaker”, or “less than” other people. But I’ve never been one of those people.