After I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, I spent weeks circling the drain of self-pity.
I was convinced my problems were worse then anyone else’s. I blamed myself. I cursed God. When my wife tried to talk to me, I was tight-lipped and curt. I was angry and afraid and spiteful. Why was this happening to me? I believed I was too young, too important and too full of promise to be stricken with such a mysterious disease.
As a child, I dreamed of becoming a writer. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I would scratch down stories in a notebook. Stories about a superhero chicken, a baseball-playing iguana and 15-year-old aerospace prodigy named Gunnar, who was chosen to lead a select group of teenage astronauts in a shuttle mission to Mars.
But then I grew up.
I got my first job flipping hamburgers, bought a car, tried to meet girls and stopped writing. I went to college, became a teacher, met a girl, got married, fathered three children, got sick and, in one of the most important decisions of my life, started writing again.
“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and interesting.”
— Edward de Bono
Sarcoidosis inspires me to write every day. Although I can’t predict the course of my disease, I am responsible for every word I write. When my words are fastened and forged together, they energize me with power and strength to fight my fickle disease.
If you have a chronic illness, I urge you to return to your childhood and become a creator again.
Creating is a profoundly constructive way to distance yourself from your pain and to remind you that you are stronger than you think you are. Paint, draw, sculpt, build a birdhouse, make Christmas ornaments, restore an old car or create a new dish with a Crock-Pot.
Create whatever makes you soul sing. Despite popular belief, creating is not about money or fame. It never has been.
It’s about totally losing yourself in a process until your self-pity is silenced, your spirit is renewed and you’re afforded needed relief from the pains of living.