This morning, I read a writer who found autoimmune disease or it found her, the war that never ends.
The immune system fights the body’s battles until one day it no longer knows who the enemy is so everything becomes the enemy.
It’s difficult not to appreciate that sentiment. Some battles rage so long everyone forgets how the fight started, never mind who is (was) righteous.
On days like today, I’m convinced my immune system has always known who the enemy is—itself—and has been engaged in a decades-long struggle to override autocorrect.
We all know how well that works, sporadically.
It was Emma Smith-Stevens’ essay, “I Used to Be a Writer and Then I Got Sick” that had me thanking the gods, the Universe, the #DailyDose, my in-breath—whoever or whatever was responsible—for sending me the words of another woman whose body is at war.
Sounds selfish because it is. I’m always looking for another perspective, another way to override my response. I suspect she looks, too.
There are decades of differences between us as writers, as women. It hurts my heart that in her young adult years she already knows “I am illness more than writer because despite my daily efforts, I can write of nothing else.”
I know, I know.
By now, I should know about ”soldiering on”–and I do–but like Emma I found a life-changing gift in being present to illness, an awareness that escaped me for most of my life.
Then, I ascribed to the ”maintenance phase” as a way of keeping the war even but the war has never been even. Each day, it is a different battle with new lines.
Good for you, Emma, for knowing this–now. It has not taken you a lifetime.
”Brokenness gives birth to transformation” and much less frequently, to wisdom (John Mark Green). It is in the breaking that broadens the life lens, sometimes shattering the old for new.
Nothing is so solid as the groundless present. Nowhere else is the extraordinary.