Imagine having an unwanted guest move into your home. You hope they don’t stay long, but they end up being a permanent roommate not just a guest. They often don’t let you sleep. They cause you pain in various ways. They annoy you, sap your energy, and at times make simple activities difficult.
That unwanted roommate that just won’t go away is chronic illness. Living with chronic illness means not sleeping well at times and at other times sleeping though the night but waking up still exhausted. Chronic illness means living with pain. Sometimes simple activities like shopping, doing laundry etc sap you of all you energy. Fatigue makes you feel like a lazy old dog.
People living with chronic illness find ways to cope. For example, I have two heating pads, one for my neck and one for my back. I use them when needed in the morning. I have had days the heating pads stay on my neck most of the day if I don”t need to teach. I stop by a small market almost every day. The food is a bit more expensive, but I don’t have to walk around much and I only buy enough for one bag because one trip up the stairs to my apartment is enough.
Living with chronic illness means your unwelcome bad roommate makes you see doctors, all kinds of doctors. At my primary doctor’s office I know the names of the physicians assistants, many of the nurses, and the receptionist knows me and looks up my info as soon as I enter the door. In the 1980s there was a popular sitcom Cheers about a bar, The theme song was about having place where everyone knows your name and they are always glad you came. I enjoy being a regular customer at a coffee shop where everyone knows my name but not the doctor’s office. Don’t get me wrong, they are great, I just wish I didn’t need to go so much.
What makes having my unwelcome roommate that won’t go away bearable is my two very welcome roommates. Jesus said in John 14:
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
Jesus and God the Father will come and make their home with anyone who follows Jesus So as imperfect as I am, they are my permanent roommates I welcome. They make living life with chronic illness bearable for me. They are there as I start my day in prayer and listening to worship music. There are days that I don’t have any energy but need to go teach or have ministry appointments, so I ask Jesus to carry me through the day and he does. They also remind me that chronic illness will not be with me forever, only in this life time. There is great hope in that.