For years, I have been on a quest
to become healthy, whole, and happy.
Health has felt elusive, as I’ve struggled to learn how to eat clean, make good choices, and heal my body from the harm I’ve done over the last forty years. I’ve eaten poorly, gorging myself on sugar, until I learned it makes me sick. I’ve mistreated my body, fueling up on a half dozen cups of coffee until my body crashes from lack of food in the afternoon. I’ve been lazy, made trip after trip to the drive-thru, rather than making the tiny extra effort to plan and prepare a healthy meal. I’ve strived to make changes to this way of living, and I’ve made progress, noticeable progress, but never enough.
As a result of my poor choices, my body is NOT whole.
I’ve ached and coughed and sputtered my way through days, just getting by until it’s time for bed again. I’ve prayed for time to take a nap, no energy to even make it past 2 o’clock. I’ve awakened in the morning with feet and joints so stiff and achy that I walked to the coffee maker with the same gait as my 91 year old grandfather. I’ve suffered from shingles, pleurisy, asthma, chronic inflammation…
What have I done to myself?
I didn’t value the healthy habits I could have developed as a younger adult. Sugar, caffeine, junk food and lack of rest or exercise had little effect then, or so I thought. The truth was simply that I couldn’t see the insidious, cumulative toll they were taking on my body. Likewise, Depression was always there, taking it’s own toll, even more sneaky and detrimental because I couldn’t see or acknowledge it’s ever constant presence.
It’s hard to see something is out of place when it has always been there.
My heart and soul ached to be happy. To be healthy. To be whole. For years I fought the battle: If I just lost weight, made healthier choices, it would all be better. If I joined weight watchers, tried a new diet with friends, or resolved to go to the gym more… everything would start to fall in place.
If I just tried harder… I wouldn’t fail.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Trying and trying and trying….
Trying harder was not the answer.
That was the answer.
For in the being still, in the ceasing to strive, this was were I could hear the still small voice:
“Life isn’t supposed to be THIS hard.”
Dare I dream it might be true?
What if I’m not just whining about life being hard, each day a struggle?
What if there really is help out there, a solution, and I don’t have to go it alone and struggle this much?
The still small voice. Its quiet prodding led me to search for someone who could give an answer. A professional who could evaluate and give an honest, expert opinion.
It took an enormous dose of courage to go and ask.
The voice in my heart wondered if the answer would be “Suck it up and quit whining. Life is hard for all of us.” The so-called truth I’ve lived with for so many years. I didn’t think I could bear to hear such an answer. But I was desperate for relief, and although terrified I was looking for an easy way out when no such route existed…
I had to hope there was a different answer.
The answer, the expert answer, was shocking to me, so filled with relief I could hardly grasp it:
“It doesn’t need to be this hard. I can’t believe you’ve lived like this for 25 years without ANY help or treatment. You’re a very strong woman.”
The aching beauty in those words.
There IS something wrong with me, which means there IS something to be fixed.
Depression. Chronic, ongoing depression.
Who knew the rejoicing those words could bring?
The heavy weight on my shoulders, previously a part of me became somehow now a separate thing that could be taken off, like a backpack.
Freedom was in sight.
All suddenly emerging on the horizon where they never were before.
I too, can have these things.
I too, can grab them and hold fast.
Life doesn’t have to be this ridiculously hard struggle.
It wasn’t the TRYING HARDER that got me here.
It was the letting go, the being still, the listening…
…to the still, small voice whisper:
Two of the most glorious words in our whole language. What if…?
What if you could be healthy?
What would that look like?
Do you believe it’s possible?
Do you have faith it’s out there, even if you can’t see it or reach it right now?
Because it is. It absolutely is. It might take being willing to ask for help. It might take letting someone else in to see the pain in your heart, the struggle of your days, the weight on your shoulders. But it’s there.
You can reach for it.
I did. And you can too.
What is your “What if…?”
Graphic background photo credit: harold.lloyd via Compfight