Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis, Perspective, & the Church

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On Space Shuttle watch.

Swell opportunities with chronic RA

It was a weekend of dramatic contrasts. There was good, bad, and ugly. There was failure, success, and “I suppose one day we’ll see a reason for that!” However, thanks to Rheumatoid Arthritis, I’m accustomed to rolling with the punches and saying, “Whatever.”

I try not to stop at “whatever.” I know how I’m supposed to finish it: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right… dwell on these things,” Philippians 4:8. RA can provide plenty of swell opportunities to choose to dwell well.

Highlights first

  • Special cookies safely shipped after five attempts to mail them.
  • Two trips to the grocery store in one morning and I still forgot something.
  • Almost 20 hours to fix a new mini menu on the website which should have taken us less than one. At least the victory was sweet.
  • First time I saw the beach in months.
  • But best of all, I spent a few hours with precious new friends. I felt like God sent them. We were buoyed by plenty of laughter and understanding. It is remarkable how close people can be when they have both chronic RA and the Church to make them sisters.

Not quite as nice: the low point

I left church before it was over. It is hard to sit and hold my four year old. But, I want to be in church and I love hold my son, so I do not complain.

Orencia hasn’t cured my Rheumatoid Arthritis – at least not yet. Every joint is tender and every day, most joints hurt. Any movement or use of joints is painful. But I don’t complain. I’ve been through the process of acceptance and I’m doing all I can to let it be used it for good.

I’ve been successful in the past with a special handshake I developed to protect my hands from painful squeezing during friendly greetings. It always works – but not this time. As I protected my hands at church, my vulnerable wrists were screaming as they were firmly pressed. But I did not complain.

The fourth person to squeeze my hands and wrists asked me why I looked like I was in pain: “Do your hands hurt?” I said, “Yes. Every joint hurts –” She interrupted to let me know that my response was intolerable. First, she rolled her eyes as she said, “Me too!” Then, as she walked off, she loudly implied that Rheumatoid Arthritis is a minor issue compared to her troubles.

I gathered my purse and my toddler and I left. I did not want to cry in public. I went home and spent my day with my daughter fixing that menu. People in the church know I have RA; some of them even read my blog once in a while. Now, that’s a positive to dwell on.

This is no assault on the Church. The Church is made of people, just like the family, the government, and the hospitals… So, it’s not perfect. If it’s a good Church, it doesn’t even claim to be. That’s God’s place.

 Just the other day, a sweet lady I know with RA was telling me about how her church has been bringing several meals a week for her family while she’s been in horrible flare. I’ve experienced that side of the Church at times, too.

Telling it like some people don’t want to hear it

People don’t have to agree with what I write. They don’t have to even read it. However, I am not dodging the truth – I’m telling it like it is. If people want to live with a Disney World version of RA like sugarplums dancing in their heads, they are going to do it without me. An opportunity to look at this on the blog this week: I discuss my comments which ABC News deleted from their website twice.

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 25th, 2010 at 7:08 am and is filed under Communication and Inspiration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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