Friday, September 20, 2013

The Road We Walk

Sometimes the road we are asked to walk in life is harder than we anticipated. In fact, I think it often is. And, yet, it is our road and our journey. There are times when we can stop and see the beauty around us. But there are moments when the simple act of taking a single step requires every ounce of strength and endurance and energy we have.

I hurt all the time, night and day. I have been struggling for a while to stand and walk. Any amount of time on my feet is excruciating and exhausting, at times to the point where I can hardly endure it. So this week I finally admitted to myself how bad things have become. Then my husband and I went out and bought a wheelchair. How quickly life changes.

I laid in bed that night feeling discouraged and broken. My road had become something I wasn't ready for. I have spent a lot of time lately contemplating this path and what the rest of my journey really ought to look like. And in that quiet moment as I thought of how much things had changed and how quickly, I was reminded of a song written not many years ago, a song that has always spoken to me but did so even more in that difficult moment of struggle.
Sometimes I feel like
I've never been nothing but tired,
And I'll be working
Til the day I expire.
Sometimes I lay down,
No more can I do.
But then I go on again,
Because You asked me to.
--"Up to the Mountain," Patty Griffin
There are moments, many of them, when I sit down on the roadside of my journey because I don't have the strength to go on. But somehow, I get up again and keep going because that is what is asked of me.

At first I was discouraged at the idea of doing book signings and conferences and so many other things in a wheelchair--it was just such a drastic change, and such a sudden one. Yet another way in which my life was changing and aching and falling apart. I am so used to being up and about while I'm out doing these things. It felt almost as though I was being punished for trying to keep going. But as I thought it over there in the dark of night, a new perspective settled over me.

I can't change this, but neither can I simply plop down on the roadside and weep for the rest of my life. So my chair, which I have dubbed "Little Buddy," and I are going to make this work. It will be different, but it will be okay. When my RA is more under control, I will be able to be up and about again. When it flares again--and there's no avoiding that, RA always returns, again and again--Little Buddy will be there waiting to take away some of my burdens.

My mom, who, along with my dad, is living up here with us right now, helping me get through all of these battles I'm fighting, is helping me make a fabric cover for the back of my chair, a matching, comfy seat cushion, and imagining with me crazier and crazier ways to chic-ify Little Buddy.

Just like we used to sign our friends' casts back in elementary school, I'm bringing markers with me to signings and conferences and events, and asking anyone who's willing to take a moment and sign the back of my wheelchair. I know it probably seems silly, and is probably a completely dorky thing to do, but pain has a terrible ability to make a person feel very isolated. I am one who struggles to ask for help, but I've come to realize how desperately I need it. So I'm asking if you'll help me, in this small way, feel less alone.


33 comments:

Brooke said...

What a great idea! You are amazing and an inspiration. I so wish you would do a signing in Fort Collins, CO, but I realize that would be a long distance to come. Hopefully one day I will make it to a signing in Utah. That way I can sign Little Buddy.
Thank you for your beautiful books and sharing your talent with us through all of your personal struggles.

Bonnie Gwyn said...

Aw, Sarah! Wish I was in Utah so I could sign Little Buddy, but I'm sending love and prayers :) You're amazing. <3

Lise Hansen said...

Thanks for sharing with us. Your books bring hours of delight to many people. I hope that knowledge cheers you up on tough days. Use Little Buddy whenever you need to. He has wheels! He'll take you places! Rest your bones so you can do the things he can't do for you. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

Z said...

Next time I see you, you can be sure I'll sign Little Buddy for you! Hang in there, Sarah, we're praying for you.

Annette Lyon said...

With how many people love and adore you, I'll be annoyed, but not the least bit surprised, if the entire thing is covered with names before I get a shot at signing it.

Heather @ Raising Memories Blog said...

Sarah, I recently had the opportunity to review your book, Longing For Home. Since then I have been following your facebook page and had heard that you had RA. I have been struggling with (undiagnosed) joint problems for a few years now (since my daughter who is now almost 5 was born). My doctor thinks it's RA but can't diagnose it because blood tests aren't positive at this time. I thank you for writing about your struggles and for sharing your desire to remain positive and persevere. It can be so scary to think about what the future holds and to deal with what challenges we face in the present. Thank you for sharing your experience. (even calling the chair "little buddy" is a good way to see it as a positive/helpful thing, rather than something that represents pain). I'm thinking of you and hoping things get better soon.
Sincerely,
Heather

Tressa S said...

I really wish I was local and could sign it. I don't think you're going to have any problems getting it covered with signatures though. I love that you're chicking it out. :) I just can't imagine going through what you are and handling it so well. I've got four young kids (ages 2 - 9), so I have an idea how difficult things probably get. Sending more prayers your way.

Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

Ariell Larson said...

I love that Idea! I would sign it for you! I admire your work! i love your books and you are an inspiration to me! Thank you for being who you are!

Rebecca H. Jamison said...

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with so much pain. That's a great idea to have people sign little buddy! If you need help at the signing Saturday, yell for me. I'm sure I won't be as busy as you and Josi.

Christene said...

Sarah, you are such a beautiful, talented and capable woman. I am so sad to hear of your struggle and imagine how it must impact your heart every day when you can't do all that you desire to. Feeling isolated by all of that is even worse. Please know we're cheering you on! You're amazing and bring such enjoyment through your writing and your great personality. We're sending many prayers for all the things you need most right now and lots of love!

Kimberly VanderHorst said...

I love how real you are. But mostly, I just love YOU. I'm so glad you have your Little Buddy now, to lift some of that all too oppressive weight off of you. I wish you didn't have to walk such a hard road, but I'm glad you don't have to do it alone. I'm glad you have Paul, and your awesome kiddos, and friends who bring you goodies and help you when you need them. I love the way people have rallied around you, and how grumpy they get when people are ignorant and unkind. I'm sure you would rather skip the whole being-so-inspiring thing in favor of not being in pain, but you are, and you are, and there are so many ways in which I want to be you if I grow up. ;)

Heather Moore said...

I'll bring some white-out so that when there are so many names on your wheelchair, we can start a second layer :-)

Sadie Heugly said...

I LOVE how you named your wheelchair "Little Buddy"! Maybe you can sing the "My Buddy" jingle/song while riding in it...
Life can throw you several hard balls that hit you and take you down. I'm happy that you are still toughing it out and stepping back up to the plate ;) That is what it's all about... the refining trials and how we come through them. I wish I had the cure for RA for you and others who struggle through this. I hope you have a friend or group that you can talk to who share the same struggle. I have a few friends who have battled RA for years. They are both awesome women and if you need someone who understands lmk and I'll introduce you.
Keep your chin up and have someone take you on a stroll to see the beautiful fall colors.

Btw... I think you are amazing!!

Dani Oldroyd said...

Good luck in your journey. You are so positive and I think signing your chair is amazing. You can always look at the signatures and know of the support you have from friends and fans!

Kari said...

You are such an amazing example to everyone. I struggle just to walk everyday also. Your books have helped me through many hard days. I would love to sign little buddy. I sure wish there was more we could do. I pray that our loving Heavenly Father will bless you are carry you when you need even more than little buddy. Thanks so much for being such an inspiration to so many.

Julie said...

You are an inspiration to so many. If I ever get the opportunity to go to one of your book signings I would definitely sign "Little Buddy"! I think your books are amazing. I have read them all but one ( which I will read soon). They are wonderful. I hope you feel all the love and support coming your way from the many fans that adore you and your books.

Keel Family said...

I too have read everything you have written. My heart aches to hear of your struggles and the ongoing physical pain you must endure. Please know that you and your books mean so much to so many. I hope that modern medicine can someday better help these situations. I imagine too that even the act of creating and writing can be a struggle when you don't feel well. Stay strong, stay positive and know that you are loved, Sarah.

Rebecca Lamoreaux said...

Sarah, you are an amazing and inspiring person! And we all love you! Prayers are definitely coming you way all the time and we can't wait for a chance to sign your Little Buddy! Thanks for being so awesome!

ilima said...

You are a great inspiration and I think the signing thing is the coolest idea ever. Hang in there. *hugs*

The Berry Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Toe Mom said...

Love You. Can't wait to sign.

The Berry Family said...

Sara, there are few people I have met in my life with the humor and light that you have inside of you.

While it is more difficult to find humor and light during tough times, I suspect you will find in time that ‘Little Buddy’ will open up many opportunities to share those gifts with others who are also struggling with similar challenges and desperately need someone who can both relate and still bring a smile to their faces and their hearts.

We love you!
-Leah Berry

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I'm sorry that you are suffering but the way you are dealing with it is amazing. Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope to make it to a signing sometimes.

Kelly Nelson, author said...

I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this right now. I hope things start improving soon. Your positive attitude is an inspiration to me and others, I'm sure. Thank you for that.

Helen said...

Lovely Sarah, my heart goes out to you, I remember the day I finally gave in and sat down in a wheelchair for the first time I too, felt like I had lost the fight, that I had given in. I too understand how exhausting shuffling round the house is, take heart, The Lord is making a mansion out of your cottage, and renovations are painful!!! I I knew where you lived, I would bring you a nice warm blanket and some rice bags to have when you are riding little buddy in the winter. As much as I LOVE the fall it is with a little apprehension because I know that cold weather and pressure changes are on there way, and tight muscles and sore joints are NO fun!
Now to sound like the huge Sarah Eden fan that I am, I would love to come and sign little buddy, LOVE LOVE your books and I can't wait for Longing for Home comes out next year! My prayers are that your pain might ease, that you might find purpose in your pain and contentment in knowing that The Lord is aware of you!

Cathy Jeppsen said...

That is sudden! Just saw you a week or two ago, I hope that Little Buddy is just the thing you need to help you out! I would love to sign it, hopefully I can make it to one of your signings soon, I still need to get your amazing Longing for Home signed. Thanks for sharing your courage with all of the rest of us!

Shiralea Woodhouse said...

I'm totally coming to sign that thing tomorrow! You rock!

Alexandra Alessandri said...

Sarah, thank you for writing this. I've been struggling this week with my own brokenness with UCTD symptoms (which for me are similar to RA) and with drug-related adverse reactions. You're an inspiration and your words are a reminder for us to make the most of the lives we have, however broken they may be. So thank you.

M. R. Buttars said...

I'll definitely sign it when I come to Ladies Night next month. ;) Best of luck with Little Buddy!

Janelle said...

Sarah, I went to your website this morning to write and let you know how much I have enjoyed your new book, Longing for Home, and to ask a follow up question. How sobering it was to learn of your personal trial, and feel the emotions involved, but to also feel of your hope and courage.
Life surprises us unexpectedly, and often in hard ways. Last year we lost our oldest daughter to cancer, but we had her for 4 1/2 years after she was diagnosed. She, too, demonstrated hope and courage. After her diagnosis, she started a blog which her husband continues today, posting photos/activities of their four children.
Your writing has touched many lives. I would often open up one of your books during our daughter's cancer journey. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent. The humor you weave into your books is therapeutic and engaging. It is a gift you have. If I have the opportunity to meet you, and 'little buddy' is there, I would love signing your chair.
May I ask if your sequel will be the final book in Katie's story? I'm hoping your answer is 'yes'.
Our daughter's trial made all of us stronger, though that may sound strange. Trials seem to have that ability. Hidden blessings come with trials. You are an inspiration, and our prayers are with you.

Sarah M Eden said...

Janelle - I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you for your kind words and your encouragement. And, in answer to your question, yes Katie's story wraps up in the next book. :)

Rane Aria said...

You are a true inspiration Sarah to those who may need a hand moving around or those of us that need courage stepping out of the house.
Some days just getting up out of bed takes more strength then many people know, but your story gives that little push to help face the day *hugs*
My prayers are with you Sarah

Glynna said...

Sarah...my father was a rheumatologist for 36 years. He encountered many people like you along the way. I think the "younger" patients were his greatest challenge. He didn't give us a lot of specifics about his patients, but we "knew" them in a way. He used his office as his "mission field" and prayed for his patients, many of them on a daily basis, because he knew that was the only way that some of them would be able to deal with their pain. It broke his heart that there was no cure for this horrible disease. If he were alive today, he would still be praying for a cure. My brother is following in his footsteps and is also praying that soon, there will be cure for your struggles. I, too, will pray that you will find relief from your pain and that one day, there WILL be a cure for RA!! Your attitude is amazing and I know you and "Little Buddy" will conquer this together.

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