New year, same pain.

The new year has come again.
This time of year is always hard for me. It’s supposed to be a time of hope, of change, a time when you can start over.
Then there’s me.
I started my new year’s eve very sick, throwing up, and passing out. Not exactly the way I wanted to ring in the new year.
This day last year was the first morning I woke up at New Tribes Bible Institute, ready to start a new chapter in my life. Yesterday I woke up and realized I’ve been back home since last February. Later I almost passed out again losing my vision for a minute, today I slipped on the stairs and fell.
These things are my reality, and the reality of so many other people out there.
So many people that have been sick for years, so many people my age that could be classed with the senior citizens by how our bodies function.
This is why we are looked down on by society, why the words “faker”, “useless” and “handicap” are thrown at us as insults.
Many of us become secluded, not by choice, but because every time we don’t show up for something, or cancel plans, we are slowly forgotten. What people see that don’t take the time or extra effort to stick around is the lazy person that lays in bed all day, can’t hold a job, and is dependent on other people to survive.
What they don’t see is our strength, or the way a simple task is celebrated. They don’t see the horrible crashes, and the tears. The discouragement after another person tells us it’s all in our heads, or when the Dr. has no clue what to do. They don’t see when we make ourselves do something like crochet, draw, or write, even when we are so sick we can hardly focus. Why do we do this? Because we are not useless people, we are not giving up. Because every stich, every line and word is a victory.
We are warriors.
We may carry the title of disabled, or handicap… But that is NOT who we are.
We are strength and compassion, love and joy. These are things we fight for every day, we are champions with every breath. Sometimes it seems we have no hope, but we don’t surrender. Sometimes even smiling brings us to tears, but we laugh anyways.
This year I am not resolving to work out more, or get a promotion (I mean, I don’t even have a job!). This year I want to change the world, and that starts with one spark. I am not the same person I was, this sickness has shaped me into who I am today, it governs my choices and defines why I am who I am. I don’t want to live with shame or guilt over who I am. I want to live with my head held high. I want to wake up in the morning with contentment no matter where I am in life, not despair over who I used to be. To be more thankful for my family, for my parents that support me without complaint, and love me more than I’ll ever know. To accept help when I need it, and help myself when I can. I am not resolving to transform my life, but to renew my mind and soul. Refreshing my spirit and allowing myself to be who I was made to be. To let myself cry, be angry, to grieve… But not to wallow in those things. To smile more, praise more, celebrate more.
To remember, I have purpose, I am not defined by how others see me, I am beautifully and wonderfully made.
I am me, and there’s no one I’d rather be.
I hope this year you’ll resolve not to waste a day of health, to never take energy for granted, to be thankful for the little things like being able to wash your hair or cook a meal, to be joyful and content no matter what this life brings. But most of all, resolve to be a spark. Let’s set the world on fire.

-Christina Lewis