Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Why Me?"

Every hand in need that reaches for me
is a piece of my salvation.
The troubles they have mirror mine.
In acknowledging their demands.
I help heal their wounds, give them hope.
What I want is to be selfish and sit in the dark.
I want to scream... WHY ME!
But with the Grace of God, I cannot.
I sympathize with the pain and sorrow.
My compassion is the light by which I walk,
it is what heals me.

~ Cyndi Lamacchia

This is an excerpt from the poetry that was read during our Easter Cantata at my church last Sunday. This particular part was written by another member of my church and in the moment that it was being read aloud by my minister, the words grabbed me. It seemed to echo how I had been feeling about my life over the past several weeks.

I think it is a great piece not only because it sang to me, but also because it can be interpreted in many different ways; both religious and non religious. My first interpretation upon hearing it is that it is about Jesus. But then I realized that it could also be about many of us; those who are facing huge obstacles in our lives. Sometimes one obstacle right after another in a relentless fashion.

This particular Sunday morning found me feeling lousy and I was questioning whether I should get up and go to church at all. I was battling a sinus infection on top of dealing with some of the same ongoing neurological issues and I was also recovering from a nasty fall the week before. Not even to mention that I was weaning down my dose of steroids, which typically causes my body a lot of grief until my body readjusts to the new dose. The assault on my body just seemed to continue week after week. And honestly, I was sick and tired of it.

As Chuck was getting dressed that morning and I was debating in my mind whether it was wiser to get up and go or stay home and rest, a statement that is very atypical for me came blurting out of my mouth. I said that maybe I should get myself to church if for no other reason than to ask God why he keeps throwing one health obstacle after another at me with no respite. Why can't he just give me a break? I thought I was half kidding when I uttered the words but the thoughts and words came so fast that I think there was some truth to them. Because looking back at the past three months, it really has been one issue after another and let's face it, I already had a full plate to begin with.

"Why me?"

I don't do the whole self pity thing too often and to be honest, I don't think that God is up wherever he is plotting different ways to torture me. I believe in a loving God. Not one that punishes us. I like to think that there is a reason for most things that happen in life but lately, I am not so sure about that. Am I being tested? Do I just have terrible luck? As you can tell, I have been doing a lot of questioning lately about why I am in the place I am with my health. I don't blame God necessarily but I do sit back and wonder about it. Am I experiencing this in order to appreciate the many blessings that I do have in my life? Is it supposed to make me a stronger person? Or is it just the way it is?

Regardless, the onslaught of physical problems over the past three months has all led to me wanting to selfishly, as this poem mentions, spend more time than usual in the dark.

Stay in bed. Stay home. Let the illness win.

But I do not.

I keep going.

I keep going for many reasons:

For the family and friends who love me and have cheered me on day after day, week after week.

For all those affected by Sjogren's syndrome and other chronic illnesses I have met online and in person whose hand in need has reached for me. At times they have been MY salvation.

For myself because I like to believe that someday the light by which I walk will be much brighter.

It is very easy to fall into the "why me?" trap. Although perhaps a perfectly natural response, it is a futile one. The time and energy spent in our self pity over events that we may not have control over leads us to make less than optimum decisions. Decisions are something that we DO have control over. Instead of making the decision to give into our crisis or illness, we can make attempts at avoiding the dark place. Like deciding if we truly need to stay in bed and rest versus making an attempt to be in the world. Or like the decision to push ourselves on a difficult day to get outside and walk; even if it is just a very short distance. Maybe making a conscious decision to replace "why me?" with "how can I help you" to another person. It is not always easy to make these decisions as sometimes we should rest or not take that walk if it will do more harm than good.

This is the point in my blog entry where I wrap it up with some heartfelt opinion or realization but truly, I have none today. And that is not a bad thing either. It means that I still wrestle with the issue and like is implied in the poem, I am not alone in this. I would like to know what my readers think about this topic.

Do you ever sit back and say "why me?"

What do you do to avoid getting sucked into that dark place?

Do you feel that it changes the way that you think about God?

Photo Courtesy of Google Images


  1. Of course I have times I think "why me". Then again, "why not me". Do we really have an answer? I don't really know.

    Do I think differently of God? No, it probably draws me closer to him. He does not give us what we cannot handle. Yet we suffer daily, minute by minute only to get thru to the next minute, day. In some ways we are stronger, because we do not give up. Yet the disease wins in so many ways to debilitate our lives. Our mind is normal for the most part, maybe forget more easily and depressed but the diseased body wins quite often. We do make strides to make our body do some things and it works but we do have to recover afterwards.

    I like your blogs and have been a bit lax lately and don't feel so well myself. I wish you to feel better as with everybody else.

    Hang in there Christine. You have so much to look forward too. May God bless you. Love and hugs. Harriet

    1. I hope you start to feel better very soon Harriet!

  2. Wonderful piece, thank you!
    I can honestly say that in all I have been through, I have never asked, "Why me?" I think maybe because I, like you, do not believe that there is a God up there "causing" these things to happen. Therefore, there IS no one to "blame". For me, it would be like trying to figure out why one out of the many pine trees in my yard is dying, or why some pets die and others do not, or some crops in the same field thrive and some do not... We, like everything else in this world, are part of the great circle of life. Dying and illness are just as much a part of this life as living itself. To think that life is cut short for some greater purpose is something my brain can simply not comprehend. This acceptance of my place in the greater scheme of this Universe has brought be great peace.
    That being said - I have found myself in those "dark places" at different times in my life. But it's a bit different for me now that I have become chronically ill. Prior to being sick I was a type A, work 40+ hours a week, marathon runner my whole life, artist, mother of 7, avid outdoors person....but all that came at a price. And one of those was the expectation I placed on myself. If I happened to get sick, or worn out, or a bit depressed and found myself "locked up with the shades down" for a few days - I saw that as somehow negative. Telling myself stories about how I NEED to get out of this and force myself to get back into life. Truth be told - my body and my mind NEEDED that down time. Now, when I find myself going through those darker times - don't want to socialize, keep the shades pulled, don't shower, spend most of my day in bed...even if I'm not flaring or necessarily more sick than usual...I simply let it be. I tell myself - this must be what my body needs right now. Don't fight it. I've yet to stay in bed or fall into a deep dark abyss forever! ;-) In fact, now that I accept where I am at, it seems I pull out of it much quicker. And if I have to be honest, this is TRULY one of the blessings of being disabled! I CAN stay in bed if I WANT to!!!! No work for me!!! ;-) (hey, we have to find all the perks we can, right?!)
    SO, it's not about the illness or depression "winning" and us "losing". It's about listening to our bodies and working WITH our reality and not against it. When I do this, I am always better for it!
    Thanks again for a wonderful, heartfelt, honest post!!


    1. Thank for Theresa for, as usual, giving me such an insightful perspective about this whole issue. You are right; even with those dark days, I have never permanently fallen into a dark abyss!

  3. After reading my post, I just want to clarify - it's not that I don't believe in God...I just don't believe he directs these bad things to happen!! ;-)

  4. Christine, Your words could not have come at a more appropriate time for me. I always am excited to see what new blog you have written, although as of late I realize you are struggling in a way I can only imagine. I too have been wondering "why me". I was ok with my lupus dx, for lack of a better word, but the TN (trigeminal neuralgia) that I have had for over ten years has taken away so much of my quality of life that at times I don't see a reason to go on. Each and every flare seems to last longer than the previous one and my poor husband didn't sign up for this when we got married. Today, my outlook is better but I struggle at times to keep it there. I trust that God will not give us more than we can handle and our loved ones need us, in sickness and in health.....and your words somehow always give me the strength I need to keep going....and so must you.....I'm counting on it!!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I am so glad you have this post helpful. I understand your feelings about thinking that your husband did not sign up for this when you married. As I am engaged and preparing to marry, I have had similar thoughts. Although Chuck knew about my Sjogren's right from the start, it has progressed and been worse over the past few months.

      This has resulted in my worrying about putting him through all this with me, forever. the thing is though, it is his (our) choice because he loves ALL of me, not just the good parts. It is your husband's choice because he loves you - in sickness AND in health. I hope that makes sense!