Seeking shelter

ashes of love file image ~ post on WoJ

Life can leach the life right out of us if we let it. Drain all vitality. Leave us limp and wilted as can be.

We seek a place to feel safe, free from harm, to rest and recuperate. A shelter for which our soul’s long.

My safe place? In my Saviour’s embrace. Beneath the shadow of His wings.

Clinging close to God’s side is where I want to abide.

And all the more as society (read:government-shaped attitudes) cause me to want to run and hide away.

There is no stable ground to be found in this world. All is shifting sand. Fickle and failing.

Those with sickness, disease and disabilities are increasingly marginalised and ostracised by a society quick to point fingers but slow to lift them to help.

Compassion doesn’t often seem to extend to those too ill to work. We are presumed to be lazy good-for-nothings, until proved otherwise.

The poem below was written out of my personal experience of living with M.E, fibromyalgia and other chronic illness for over 20 years.

I wasn’t going to write today, depleted and drained as I am. But God graced me with these words on a subject I feel strongly about.

It is also written in empathy and sympathy for all who suffer and to honour International ME/CSF/ & FM Awareness Day.

‘Silenced’

silenced PJ poem image

My voice is weak

Silenced by the strong

While I have a soul longing

to seek a place of shelter

Somewhere I can belong

Bathe these wounds

in Gilead’s balm

Receive oil of joy

to slip away from harm

Pain penetrates each day

Its probing fingers linger

like a stubborn stain

Leaving me weaker than before

Coated in a covering of shame

Living on the margins

Broken by its borders

A limp-ragged doll, I blink

wary eyes at society

and slink away to hide

Because I’m washed up

by its tide, become detritus

on the shore, breathless

in my distress, dis-ease

But the Healer hears and sees

Cradles His hurting child

Gathers her fragments, lost soul

Breathes new life, new hope

to restore and make her whole

©JoyLenton2015

beach low tide PJ poem pin

Being framed

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’.

Being Framed

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

©JoyLenton2013

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