Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Pain

I live with pain every day. Have done so for over 15 years. I have a condition called rheumatoid arthritis. This is a an auto-immune inflammatory disease that affects the soft tissue around the joints. I am primarily effected in my hands and feet but also have inflammation occasionally in my knees and elbows. It has become my constant companion. I have not had a pain free day in years.

Mostly I can deal with it and then comes along a day like today. A day where the pain is extreme. Where every step taken hurts. Where holding a glass of water is a tricky thing as your hand may just let go without you knowing it.  Where even getting a hug from your loved ones is just too painful. That is the kind of day I am having today.

I started writing this in the morning and now it is the middle of the afternoon, if I am lucky I will get it finished by this evening. The pain means that I don’t have the much energy to deal with and typing is making my finger joints feel even more pain. So I take breaks and come back when I can to this.

Here is what I do to cope. I take my meds regularly.  I try to get enough sleep. I drink water – that really does help. I take rest days when I need them (like today). I try not to dwell on the pain. I try to find something positive to do with my time. I try to find ways to have gentle exercise.

Then there are days like today where it just doesn’t matter and the pain stops me. I don’t think well. I don’t come across clearly. It is hard to move. The question is why has this happened. Well there is this little thing called stress! It seems to send my system completely overboard. Now those with regular immune systems find that when they are over stressed they get sick. When I,or others like me,  get stressed our immune systems go into over drive and attack our joints and we get inflammation and then we get pain.

So I think my body is trying to tell me something. Pain comes from stress and you have way too much stress in your life at the moment. Way too much! I am going to listen to my body and try to figure out how to reduce the stress. Find ways to let the joy creep back into my life.

Looking forward to days with less pain, less stress and more joy.

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Grace, Abundance, and Thanks

Thank you, thank you, thank you. All of you who read my last post, all of you who commented here and on Facebook, all of you who sent me private messages – oh you have given me a sense of God’s grace and abundance. So again thank you, thank you, thank you.

I have realized, once again, that God’s grace doesn’t (at least for me) come with a big bang but with small nudges, hugs, loving thoughts and smiles. I am thankful for that today as I had been wondering where God was in the midst of all of this pain. God is with me through all of you my readers and friends.

I have been shown an abundance of love over the last 24 hours. The dear one and I are both feeling held up and that we are not alone in this place anymore.

There has been much for me to think about and I am sensing that God is working here and suggesting something about a future direction. Going to wait on that one and see what it brings forth. You have all been an important part of making that clearer for me.

I will stop gushing now, but I needed to say thanks. Grace and peace to you all.

Depression, Stigma, and Clergy Families

WARNING THIS IS A BIT OF A RANT. SO IF YOU NEED SOMETHING GENTLER TO READ I WON’T BE OFFENDED.

I am not even sure how to start this post – I am so full of anger, disappointment, despair and sorrow.

The dear one is a clergy person. He loves being a priest, sharing the good news, celebrating the sacraments, being with people on their faith and life journeys.  Almost two years ago he was placed on medical leave by his bishop. This was not a mutual decision, this was a decision that was handed to him, to us. The dear one had coped with and managed his depression with a lot of support from his family  and medical team for almost 15 years before being placed on medical leave. Now here we are stuck.

Every parish that he has applied to has not even put him on the short list for an interview. Every bishop he has spoken to has been discouraging of him applying for parishes. As soon as they see the words ‘medical leave’ or ‘depression’ they put his application at the bottom of the pile.

Here comes the rant part. This is STIGMA pure and simple.

The bishops in our church are not being honest about how many clergy regularly  cope with depression or about  how many of them are dealing with depression on a daily basis. Just by the grace of God they are not in the situation that we are in. At the moment I am not even sure that it is grace. In fact I think it has more to do with lying and subterfuge and fear than it does with grace.

No one is being honest with the dear one about why he cannot get past the front door and at least get asked to interview for a parish. No one will come out and say it is because your depression got out of control and you burned out. They won’t say that because that would put them into legal difficulties.

There are also no resources within the church to help clergy and their families in this situation. You are told you are on your own. Keep applying for parishes and hopefully a parish will be willing to take you on. There is no encouragement there at all.

What I want to know is where the gospel in all of this?  Where is the love of God in all of this? Is it right to abandon a good priest and his family because he has been honest about his mental health situation?

We are trying to figure out what is next for us. My job is ending soon. The future is seeming bleak at the moment. I never thought that in our middle years we would be facing such an emotional, financial, and mental crisis.

I wish that I could end this with a positive note but I cannot at this time.  My heart just can’t find a positive place to be at the moment.

Let the Busyness begin!

I am now on holidays!

There are 6 days to go before the big day – the wedding of eldest daughter to her beloved. So busyness is about to really ensue and I am sure that I won’t have time to post on here again until after the festivities are done and we are home again.

I am thankful to be surrounded by family and loved ones at this time. It is taking my mind off of the reality of what is coming in the next couple of months (that will definitely be a later post). It is fun to be part of the plans and the making of this soon to be wonderful day.

I am making the cake for the big day and that is going to take up much of the week and much of the fridge space – but it is so going to be worth it.

There is going to be joy, fun, tears and even more joy and I am going to soak it all up and take it home with me. I will take that joy out from time to time when I need to have it to bolster me up and help me get through the tough times ahead. So my friends and friendly readers and I am ready to embark on the busyness of this week and have an amazing celebration to cap it all off!

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