Although it’s an inescapable reality, I try not to write much about or dwell upon my life as an M.E and chronic illness sufferer.
It can feel intrusive enough already.
Each day brings fresh reminders of pain and limitations.
A life framed by feelings I’d rather not have.
They can make life miserable indeed.
Though sharing misery is not really my goal or mission at all.
My emphasis is more on God’s grace to sustain, strengthen, heal and restore than on how it feels to be sick.
But I am making an exception today by sharing a poem that was originally featured on my other writing place Words of Joy and is mentioned in the current post there.
It was written at a time when society’s impressions were being greatly influenced by governmental views and decisions and is very much a poetic lament in support of all who live with such experiences.
Sadly, there has been no let up since.
It speaks of the unwarranted stigma and shame that sufferers can experience.
I hope you will come away from reading it feeling better informed and aware, with some insight into the lives of those with ‘invisible illnesses’.
I’ve been framed, boxed, categorised,
sifted, found wanting in society’s eyes
I’m not the woman they think they see,
but an inner person that’s really me
Viewing the image the mirror provides
if I dare to risk, turning away with sighs
Decades of illness have left their mark
and it’s hard to bear living in shaded dark
My eyes need rest I urgently seek,
the brain is foggy, body made weak
Pain and deformity cripple the frame
and it’s hard to remember inside I’m the same
A woman with dreams and a heart to express
all that’s buried within, though under duress
I want to be seen as I feel inside
but external appearance causes me to hide
Days without number I face my fears
that grow as hard to scale as our home stairs,
that this won’t go away and I might not be healed
that the inner joy may be forever concealed
For it’s hard to stay cheerful, harder still to be bright
in a world that pushes us out of sight
We’re the invisible people, out of the game
our only identity is pain and shame
Huge in number, if weak of voice,
the nameless ones who cannot rejoice
until labels and badges no longer apply
and we don’t have to keep asking you, “Why?”
Why not believe us, why not accept
this could happen to you, being sick and wrecked
Your body a tomb for a spirit that’s chained,
a livelihood lost, prison sentence gained
Eyes that accuse, hearts that are hard
do nothing but continue marking our card
Treated with scorn, hostility, derision,
our whole future residing on whim of decision
Fear haunts our days and disturbs our nights,
energy drained further to keep fighting our rights
Please, won’t you listen and heed the weak
as you hear our stories of the justice we seek?
Please remember we are people too,
not numbers, statistics, a warped world view
Lives are at stake as bodies fail,
strong in intent, though our hearts quail
Life in the Slow Lane can be no life at all
when it grinds to a halt against a brick wall
If you know someone who has M.E,
please help them and tell them you see,
you witness their pain, you understand the need
and you won’t turn away, you will pay heed
All we ask is for people to see who we are,
recognising this disease will take us far
into a future where compassion can reign
instead of resentment, sadness and shame
Despite the negative tone in the poem above, I am very much kept positive and hopeful by God’s continual outpouring of endurance, strength and love. Some days may be really challenging but His grace is always sufficient for every need.
This topic is being aired today as I am guest posting on my friend Mia’s site. I’d love you to come on over and read the full post here.
Day 5 of 31 days of #poetryforthesoul