Clarissa Shepherd wrote this tribute to people living with chronic illness in honor of May 12 Awareness Day, 2012. She is honoring her own support group, formed two years ago,* but also the very large circle of souls around the world who understand what she means. Thank you, Clarissa!
Walk in the Light of Your Fearlessness
By Clarissa Shepherd
Many times we feel disconnected from everyone due to chronic illness. We can’t always express how or what we feel to others. This leaves us frustrated and alone in a room filled with people.
We reach deep inside to see a part of us that many people never need to find.
We hold on tight to places in our mind that many people never need to go.
Survival is a daily task, and peace can many times be a stranger to us.
As I think of those surviving chronic illness, I am reminded of how brave you are.
You are not your illness. You are a mighty sword, of a warrior, going to battle each day for your life.
You are not your harmful thoughts, for they are imposed on your mind. Yet, as a mighty sword, you are greater than those awful thoughts that enter the mind and affect your body and life.
Together we stand, for apart we fall. We each give to the other the strength to move forward even when we would rather lie down and quit.
You show your strength and courage with each breath you take, every obstacle you overcome, each time you learn new ways to cope.
You are fearless, even in your pain, for you move ever forward, in spite of it.
All of your adversity has rebuilt you, mind, body and spirit.
Allow the reality of this truth to wash over you. To fill up your innermost being, bind you, hold you, carry you and settle inside you.
You are heroes of a unique kind, taking a journey down a very winding road.
With uncertainty around every curve, you rise to the occasion with grace.
Walk in the light of your fearlessness, for you are the description of courage.
* Clarissa Shepherd founded the Fellow Travelers FMS, MCS, and CFS/ME Support and Chat Group in May 2012 (http://www.facebook.com/groups/Fellow.Travelers). Their friendly door is open to all. Clarissa is author of Find Your Way: A Guide to Healing While Living with CFIDS and Fibromyalgia.