Do you ever stop and just listen?? I used to be a person (this was when I was WAY younger) who loved to talk and be the center of attention (sad I know)!  It was not until college that I realized the VALUE of sometimes just sitting around and listening! My goodness you learn so much about people, about yourself, and about the world. When was the last time you went for a drink, say Starbucks, and then just sat down in the shop, closed your eyes, and let yourself just sit their quietly.  You hear the rustling of paper, the shuffling of people, the conversations that start when people open the door and end when they leave with their drink in hand. I have done this before both here in the United States as well in foreign countries that I have been in including India (that was so cool), Africa (aww I miss it) and Central Europe.  I love hearing the many different languages, watching the different interactions with people, and sometimes just being a little fly on the wall that people might not notice or remember is there.

That peacefulness that comes with silence sometimes is so refreshing.  I am a person who loves to always have something going on in the background.  From noise coming from Netflix, I say noise because often I will have something running that I am not even watching, to something on the radio. I have always hated the silence when I am home or somewhere, silence for me seems so sad and lonely.  But here recently, like tonight, I turn off Netflix or the radio and I just listen.  I listen to the typing on the computer, I listen to the meow of my cats, to the creaking of the house, to the fan in my office, or to the sounds from the street as my office faces the road by my house.  Our ears are so good at picking up so many things, I wonder how many cool things I have missed because of noise?

The same goes for life, sometimes we let our life get so full of “noise” that we forget who we are….or what we want from our life. I wrote today in my final Internship journal how we have to have a goal and a focused plan for life and things within our life.  From a project at the office, to redecorating the house, or even just planning what/where to go on vacation.  We can go through life with just a plan….but with out a goal what are we shooting for? Or we can go through life with a goal but with out a plan how are we going to get there? We need both combined to get through to the end goal and to fulfill our dreams. All to often, myself included I spend time “figuring out what I want to do” and little time just setting a plan and going for it.

But you know that takes us to another question that many have asked, how do we make plans and set goals with RALF (i.e., Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia) and many other invisible diseases. We are on horrible (sometimes it is the side effects that make the meds horrible) meds, we feel like we have been run over and thrown over a bridge, and we are so exhausted after opening our eyes in the morning…how in the WORLD are we going to make a goal or pursue our dreams??? I have found myself asking this very question. I have found myself wondering …how am I going to do this degree….how am I going to work a job to pay back my students loans (ewww but alas must be done), and how am going to stay active in the  things that I love to do in life????

These questions and more are so tough…because I know me…I want hard answers. I don’t want to hear maybe, I don’t want to hear “well you probably can”, and I don’t want to hear “well if you try hard enough it will happen.” It is so hard to bring comfort to people struggling with the many diseases that we don’t understand (they are MANY MANY diseases that fit this criteria).  It is even worse when we are young (sometimes infants) or young adults. And what if we are in our forties and have been enjoying a great life and then SMACK life changes? There is NO GOOD AGE to get sick and NO PERFECT TIME.

These are some major tough questions to work through, and I just want you to know that first of all is it TOTALLY ok to think these things and more. It is alright to honestly, brutally, painfully, and emotionally discuss/talk these things through with yourself and with those closest to you. Because you know we have our own normal, our lives are different, our paths are full of pain, medicine ,side effects, and doctors visits. We cannot change some of those things, the only thing we can change is our perception and believe that if we have dreams/goals…we can still find some way to do it.

Granted sometimes we have dreams and goals that we have to let go, I have dreamed of hiking major mountains. I know that probably won’t happen and that truly sucks. I let myself grieve (You have to grieve your loss) that I will not be able to do everything physically that I want to do. But I am going to let myself find new things or do smaller versions of my dreams. Answers to problems/questions are there…we just have to find them.

Be encouraged tonight, you are greater than your pain! At least that is what I am telling myself tonight 🙂




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