Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Caution with Chronic Illness in the Family

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda,[a] having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.[b] Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
John 5:1-9 NKJV

Before Jaycee, I had read the story of the man healed at the Pool of Bethesda many times. This man had been an invalid for 38 years. He had spent much time waiting by this pool hoping to be the first to step in when the water was stirred so that he could be made well.

Then Jesus came along. The man told Jesus that he had no one to put him into the pool when it's stirred and that someone steps in front of him preventing his healing. For years, I read this scripture with frustration at the man. He made excuses for why he wasn't healed, but his healing did come in a way he didn't expect.

After I had Jaycee, I got something new from this story. I thought about that man and the other people who stepped out in front of him. He suffered for 38 years, surely the people around him knew it. They never once thought about helping the man into the water first?

No! Instead, those around the water wanted to receive their healing. The passage tells us there was a great multitude of people with all sorts of reasons to want to step into the waters first. If they were first, they received their healing. Their life changed radically. At the same time though, their healing meant that other people (maybe worse off) were not and would have to continue to wait.

Can you imagine having the opportunity to change your life while others still suffer? Did they think about the people around them who would remain there still in their condition?

To me this scripture is a reminder. It is a story about how easy it is for us to be consumed with our own issues and problems and overlook the needs of others.

Early on after having Jaycee, it was very easy for me to become very self-absorbed in the middle of a health crisis. At birth, Jaycee was diagnosed with Down syndrome and a heart defect that would require open heart surgery. When we brought Jaycee home from the NICU, she was in congestive heart failure. After her heart surgery at 3 months of age, she needed oxygen for three months. After that health problem resolved, she started having an issue with her eyes and the beginnings of a very long battle of asthma that would lead to many hospital admissions and bouts of pneumonia. In other words, she moved from health crisis to crisis. Some were harder than others. There were some days of peace mixed in all the chaos, but the first year was extremely rough followed by more years of issues. The world of hospitals, sickness, and health problems was new to me, and I simply didn't know how to navigate it in a healthy way.

When Jaycee had a health issue, it would affect my emotions, thoughts, and attitude towards life. OK, it still affects me but I am armed with knowledge and understanding now. When I would hear about another person's health problem, I literally couldn't take it in. I had my own problems and it was all I could handle. I couldn't deal with anything else. Most likely, there were some people I should have stepped up and supported in times past but I didn't because I felt I couldn't. Not only that, I would get very irritated when someone complained about a health issue that was sooo not a big deal comparatively.

But, I've grown. I understand that everyone is on their own path. What may seem minor to me compared to what my daughter has went through is just the "worst" situation for another person. They need support, and I of all people know that! I have tried to develop patience and understanding for others in their own medical crisis even if I'm in the middle of one myself with my daughter.

This Bible story reminds me and challenges me. No matter how "bad" things are going. No matter what craziness is going on in my life. I need to stop and take a look around at the people I encounter. There may be someone in need whose being ignored by everyone else. Self-pity and self-centeredness only gratifies one person but a life looking outward can reach an unlimited amount of people. This is a lesson I'm challenged by often and hope to have perfected at some point in my life.

This post is written for the 31 for 21 challenge- where bloggers write about Trisomy 21 all 31 days in October. 

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