Joy in the Bittersweet

I visited the eye doctor the other day. And like always at every new doctor, my stroke from 8 years ago comes up. Which is a necessity. I’m not complaining. It’s been about 5 years since last seeing an eye doc, and because I still struggle with vertigo since the stroke, we were curious to know if there was any physical deterioration in my eyes. I’m happy to say that my eyes were clear and healthy, and even though my vision isn’t perfect, my eyes themselves are the way they should be for my age.

There then was conversation about how there are many who have strokes who have their vision compromised and it was a happy thing that didn’t happen in my case. Trust me, I’m very thankful for such for I know people who lost their sight from a stroke, and how difficult that is. After that, a comment was made that it was a good thing my stroke was ‘mild’.

I don’t mean to be frothy, but …I kinda take issue with that.😳

Medical people talking of “mild strokes’ is based on the idea that it “could have been much worse”. Yes, I totally realize my stroke could have been much worse than it was. There were stroke patients in the hospital when I was there that were “much worse” than I. This was pointed out often by nurses and doctors—and I know it was meant to make me feel better, so I don’t want to condemn them, but saying such didn’t make me feel better then and it doesn’t now.

Just because it “could’ve been much worse”, doesn’t mean what happened to me was “mild”.

No, it didn’t affect my eyes, and I didn’t became a vegetable. Sincerely: “Thank you, God.” But the reality is that this “mild” stroke still changed my entire life, and I was left with outward and inward deficits and handicaps that were still very real.

When people say a stroke was mild, or “it could’ve been worse”, it downplays all the pain and skips over the realities and dismisses the person who went through it. Now, I don’t wanna live in my victimhood. God has cautioned me about that over and over these last 8 years, but for mental, emotional, and spiritual health, it’s important to state the truth—at least to my own self.

My stroke may have been termed “mild”, but it was ALOT to overcome. I had to relearn everything. How to walk. How to balance. I had to relearn how to talk. Relearn how to think. How to communicate. How to feel. I had to relearn how to type and use tech. I had to learn to live with being slow, both in body and mind and speech–and the list goes on and on. And it’s still going on.

It’s been 8 years.🥺 I should be all better now, right? But, I’m not. I’m still healing. God is still healing me, and Jesus is still walking me through it all. These last two things are the ONLY things that matter. Not the hows & whys that it happened, not what others think they know, not what anyone else thinks I can or can’t do. There is HOPE in that “still healing”.

Yep, it’s long and it’s wearisome. But Jesus speaks to my heart: “Be of good cheer.” Why? Because He is still with me. Joy can be found in that bittersweet.

And when it’s getting long and remaining hard, that’s the time to believe him the most.

I heard a quote recently: “Weakness with Jesus doesn’t carry any handicap.” Limitations, deficits, impediments in Jesus’ hands are STRENGTHS to him. Yes, it could’ve been much worse, but by faith I know God rules all the “could haves” in my life, and in him I’m not lacking anything, no matter how it may seem to me or others.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”… for when I am weak, then I am strong.

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