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The Ugly Truth

February 11, 2010

todays post is one i know will get to your heart. it is from my sweet gitz. the woman i go to for wisdom and perspective and a good kick in the butt!

Confessions of a Homebound Girl: The Ugly Truth

Ok, so when I told Tam I’d love to do a guest post for her, as long as she picked the topic for me, this is the title she chose:Confessions of a Homebound Girl: The Ugly Truth. It sounds like there should be a dun dun dun after it, does it? 🙂

I had to sit with it for a day or so, because I’m not a girl who usually looks at my life as having an ugly truth. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the ugly truth is this: Life isn’t fair. And balance has nothing to do with things being equal.

I wasn’t always sick. I used to be outgoing and on the move. I was a singer, loved to work out and dance and volunteer for anything and everything. I was the first to throw a get-together and the first to RSVP when someone else did. I grew up an Iowa farm girl, loved being outside and spent as much time at the lake skiing and enjoying the sunshine as our schedule allowed.

Now, I’m confined to a small condo with my sweet pup Riley. I won’t feel sunshine on my skin or breathe the fresh air ever again. Being on the go for me now consists of ambling behind my walker [which I affectionately named George] from one room to the next when I have enough energy. Life isn’t fair.

But it wasn’t meant to be.

What we tend to forget is that we created the idea of fair… God didn’t. He never told us we deserve a perfect existence. He never told us life would be simple if we were faithful. He just told us to be faithful, and that He would be, too. I embraced that concept and realized that as long as I stay focused on Him and what He needs from me, rather than what I want for me, my life will be full and balanced. Not fair. Not good and bad in what I consider equal measure. But balanced with His mercy… an ugly truth partnered with a beautiful one.

The ugly truth is that I wake up in the morning, after a fitful night of sleep, with more pain than my brain can register. I wake up, take my meds and spend about an hour trying to figure out the best way to get out of bed that day. The beautiful truth is that I have this little white pup who lays with me regardless of how long it takes. He’s like my own physical therapy as I pet him and try to get my fingers and arms moving. If I close my eyes again, he snuggles with me, and if I open them he plays hide and seek with the covers to keep me entertained until I can sit up and start moving.

The ugly truth is that it became dangerous for me to do something as simple as shower because stepping into the tub was a major feat. Taking a bath, while therapeutic, was impossible because I couldn’t get down into the tub, and if I did I certainly would never have been able to get back up. The beautiful truth is that my Ill and Handicap Waiver provided me with a walk-in bathtub, ensuring my safety and comfort… but more importantly, it ensured my independence.

The ugly truth is that I spend at least 95% of my life in seclusion. I can only let perfectly healthy people into my condo. If you come in with an ear infection, I could wind up with pneumonia. The ugly truth is that while my life came to a standstill, everyone else’s lives continued to get busier, which means I can go long periods of time alone. I sometimes go many months not seeing anyone but my home nurses, Dawn [who cleans my home every other week] and Linda [who delivers groceries]. And sometimes I don’t even see them if they are sick or around sick people. The beautiful truth is that I feel connected. My friends call, they Skype, they videotape the school concerts I’m missing of their kids, they tell me in detail about the events I miss and the daily happenings I so want to be a part of.

The ugly truth is that I don’t care about what I can’t do for myself… I care about what I can’t do for others. I care about not being there for my nieces and nephews… their future graduations and weddings and joys and sorrows. I care about not being there for people I love when someone dies, when they need consoling and my arms can’t be wrapped around them. The ugly truth is that I’m fine with what I have lost… I’m not fine with what I can no longer give.

The beautiful truth is that I was able to spend many years establishing relationships that last beyond the physical boundaries. The beautiful truth is that, while I can’t leave my home to be with them, I am always home to take their calls. I get to be their refuge away from their realities. The beautiful truth is that I still get to serve them, I just serve them differently.

The ugly truth is that I had to let go of my dream of writing to make a living, but once I started blogging I realized I was writing to make a life. To meet new people. To open up my world. To fill my life with authentic relationships I would never have been exposed to had I been given the chance to live the busy life I always dreamed of having.

The beautiful truth is that being homebound isn’t limiting my life. It’s just limiting my location.

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67 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2010 6:48 am

    Wow. What an incredibly strong faith.

    • February 11, 2010 11:56 am

      thankfully, we have a very strong God 🙂

  2. February 11, 2010 6:48 am

    Pretty sure I’d spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. Thanks for the kick in the pants. Great stuff.

    • February 11, 2010 12:14 pm

      I probably would’ve assumed the same about myself… but then you find yourself in a situation that makes you prove yourself. I just found choosing joy to be a much easier way to live. Realizing it was a choice was the first obstacle 🙂

  3. February 11, 2010 6:57 am

    This is amazing…”The beautiful truth is that being homebound isn’t limiting my life. It’s just limiting my location.”

    • February 11, 2010 12:15 pm

      Honestly, being online and making such true friendships really drove that home for me. I have been crazy blessed with good friends all my life, but the people I’ve found through the blog and twitter opened up my world. I’ve met more people through this than I ever would have walking out my door.

  4. February 11, 2010 7:09 am

    how is it possible that i love you even more? i can’t stop the tears! you never cease to amaze me. i am in the middle of a flare with my symptoms and have been pitching a “fit”!! i know we aren’t to compare ourselves but i want YOUR perspective on life which i know is God given.

    because i was homebound i was able to “meet” you…that is a beautiful truth in my life. love ya girl!

    • February 11, 2010 12:17 pm

      Love you, too… and sorry you’re in another flare. Hope it’s short-lived, and that you find some fun in the middle of it all. With your two kids, I imagine they keep you on your toes… even when you’re laying down 🙂

  5. February 11, 2010 7:34 am

    “He never told us life would be simple if we were faithful. He just told us to be faithful, and that He would be, too.” Wow. Thank you so much for reminding me of that beautiful truth. You are so right and yet I keep forgetting. Thank you thank you thank you

    • February 11, 2010 12:18 pm

      You know, it took me awhile for that to stick, too. 🙂 But once I let go of the expectation of everything going smoothly, I learned how to just go for the ride and enjoy it anyway.

  6. February 11, 2010 8:16 am

    Wow…your perspective brings tears to my eyes. Thanks for challenging my faith today!

  7. February 11, 2010 8:16 am

    Amazing

    • February 13, 2010 3:42 pm

      for the record, you’ve definitely been a “beautiful truth” for me 🙂

  8. February 11, 2010 8:24 am

    Amazing post! I’m so glad I stumbled upon this. Thank you for the reminder that I need to focus on the things I am in “control” of and not let the circumstances of life weigh me down.

    • February 11, 2010 12:20 pm

      And then you’ll discover that you’re not even in control of the things you think you are. 🙂 I swear, every time I think I have something down pat, God nudges me and says, “Really?” Then I roll my eyes and thank Him for taking care of even the littlest things. 🙂

  9. February 11, 2010 9:08 am

    Amazing post. Thanks for the reminder that it’s our choice how we view and accept our circumstances.

    • February 11, 2010 12:22 pm

      Thanks. Sometimes I have to remind myself to say thank you even for the hard things… because I trust He’s going to make something beautiful happen whether I realize it or not.

  10. jenniclayville permalink
    February 11, 2010 9:12 am

    man i love you, gitz!

    • February 11, 2010 12:22 pm

      Man, I love YOU. You do know you’ve blessed my life, right? Just making sure. 🙂

  11. Heidi permalink
    February 11, 2010 9:15 am

    I am sitting here in my car (where I work)…. Bawling!!

    You inspire me so much!!!

    Sarah Frankl you’re amazing and I am so glad that I can call you my friend.

    • February 11, 2010 12:23 pm

      Hey, girl!!! Thanks… I feel like I haven’t seen you around as much. Or maybe I’ve been quieter. Either way, it’s good to see your face. Love you!

  12. Heidi permalink
    February 11, 2010 9:24 am

    oops I spell your name wrong Gitz… Sara

    • February 11, 2010 12:23 pm

      Yep… I’m the non-biblical version 🙂

  13. Shannon permalink
    February 11, 2010 9:30 am

    Love you, friend. Raw honesty, in some cases, is beautiful. Here it is a work of art. I adore the way you challenge all of us, every single day.

    • February 11, 2010 12:24 pm

      And I adore that this blog world brought us our friendship. Adore you and the chicks!

  14. February 11, 2010 9:37 am

    I, too, am blown away at your undying Spirit. Just knowing that our perceptions of how life SHOULD be and what the reality is gets so skewed by the world around us. Read a post yesterday (and I’ve forgotten who) that said life isn’t fair and instead of asking why, to ask how & what. That implies action. Life isn’t fair, but I can change my perception with action. My own action. And God is there. Waiting. Patiently. For me to “get it”. Like a child taking their first steps toward an anxious parent. Thanks for the reminder that my life is what it is and what I make it.

    • February 11, 2010 12:28 pm

      This made me smile, because the “What and How” post was the one I posted yesterday 🙂 That really did make a huge impact on me at the right time to change my questions.

      • February 11, 2010 3:01 pm

        I should have remembered that!! I need to write down where I’m in a conversation at!!

        Hope you don’t mind, but I shared about the why and how & what yesterday at a 12 step meeting. And today at a meeting I read from my phone the part where WE are the ones defining the fairness of a said situation. My perception. Again. I continued with sharing by saying the “ugly truth” is that I’m an addict. The “beautiful truth” is the I’m an addict in recovery. And that my “Higher Power” (I hate using that term) has given me the wonderful gift of recovery. The silver lining in the cloud. It isn’t fair! But, I must not ask why, but use those how & why questions & move my feet to continue receiving the blessings of recovery. I want to be more selfless. More compassionate. More generous with my experience, strength & hope. Be more thoughtful before I speak. I learned that lesson yesterday. Always be willing to listen to suggestions. Willing to learn.

        • February 11, 2010 3:32 pm

          Shellie, I’m so glad you found something in this to parallel your own situation, and you are more than welcome to share it. I’m so proud of you for really working at your recovery… it’s an every day process.

  15. February 11, 2010 9:37 am

    Thank you.
    I love hearing how you do it.
    It helps. LOTS.

    • February 11, 2010 12:28 pm

      Hi, sweet friend! Glad it helped… miss seeing your avi! How have you been?

      • February 11, 2010 3:43 pm

        Hi. I’m hangin’ in there.
        Lots of tests and closer to a diagnosis than before. Time will tell…

        Thanks for asking. Love you!

        • February 11, 2010 3:51 pm

          Praying for you… feel free to email if you ever need to. 🙂 Glad things are at least moving forward for you.

  16. February 11, 2010 9:38 am

    i love you so much, my fritz-friend. i’m consistently challenged and inspired by your heart. thank you for being in my life.

    i loved the way you worded that bit about not writing for a living, but writing for a life. blogging is that very same thing for me.

    already praying for me to be unbelievably healthy in april.

    • February 11, 2010 12:29 pm

      You and me both… I’m thinking of sending you a truckload of antibiotics just to keep you well. 🙂 Love you so much … you are definitely one of the biggest blessings out of all of this!

  17. February 11, 2010 9:43 am

    Oh, Gitz, I wish I could be your neighbor… Even if I couldn’t see you much because I am ALWAYS around my kids who are always sick or around other sickies… but.. I could drop care packages at your door, or leave notes in your mailbox, or… Hmmm. Need your address. Email me. 😉

    This is a true, heart-felt post. I love it. It hurts, but it shows that you have a heart that is willing to grow past your limitations and make the most of the life you have. That is what counts. There are TONS of people in my life, who don’t make time to care for others. I know firsthand, because I live so far from the world I have always known. I expected things to stay the same for so many of my relationships when I moved here to Italy. but, in reality… I can count on my hand how many people actually are consistent from week to week, or day to day, or at least month to month.

    I am so grateful for blogging friends like you. My hubby does not understand how I can be friends with someone I have never met… I know it is because we share a similar heart, humor, or just an interest in caring and reaching out.

    Thanks for sharing your heart, Sara… You are a blessing. Hope you are having a better day!

    • February 11, 2010 1:13 pm

      I wish we were neighbors, too, because I think Italy would be AMAZING! 🙂 I’m lucky that this blog has not only put me in touch with new friends, but it’s been a nice way to keep in touch of old friends I hadn’t spoken to in awhile. It is always an adjustment when your life changes and everyone else’s stays the same…

    • February 11, 2010 9:32 pm

      Celita…I know EXACTLY what you mean…having moved to China a few months ago, I have seen the same-it’s amazing all of the technology that is afforded us today, but so many people I have always known never ever contact me…while it has also opened up a whole new, awesome world of new friends through social mediums. My new consistent friends are actually people I have never met,; but have supported me spiritually, emotionally, and even financially. It is kind of amazing the way the Body works. I found it disappointing at first about the ones who seemed to have forgotten, but have become humbled and blessed by those who have never met me in person, but choose to be extra community.

      May you be blessed in Italy!

  18. February 11, 2010 9:50 am

    Thank you. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and inspiring perspective. Thank you for letting God use you no matter what…

  19. February 11, 2010 11:02 am

    Gitz- your post always leave me encouraged, inspired, and touched- sometimes laughing too- but this one was beyond all of that. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us and not letting the “ugly side” keep you from sharing your writing and life with us!

    • February 11, 2010 1:15 pm

      You’re so kind… and I think once we see the beautiful side the ugly becomes less daunting. Without it, I would never have been influenced by so many other blogs and my readers. Makes everything a little more beautiful.

  20. Tatum permalink
    February 11, 2010 11:18 am

    Wow. I am so thankful I stumbled across this today. Thank you for your honest and inspiring words! 🙂

  21. February 11, 2010 1:16 pm

    Thank you, Tatum… I’m glad you stumbled here, too!

  22. bahava permalink
    February 11, 2010 1:32 pm

    beautiful, just beautiful. I love that there is the beautiful truth…thank you for sharing your heart.

    • February 11, 2010 1:58 pm

      I’m so grateful for the beautiful truth, and the balance it allows us to hold onto!

  23. February 11, 2010 1:56 pm

    “I had to let go of my dream of writing to make a living, but once I started blogging I realized I was writing to make a life. ”

    Your insight just pierces me sometimes! You would think I’d be prepared for your words by now, but here I sit blinking back tears. The beautiful truth is just what a beautiful spirit you are and how lucky I am to have you in my life!

    • February 11, 2010 1:59 pm

      Thanks, Vicky… I think we’re lucky in equal measure! 😉

  24. February 11, 2010 2:01 pm

    I’m speechless.

    • February 11, 2010 2:39 pm

      Honestly, it’s just my path, my life. I don’t think the story is that extraordinary… it’s just about learning to trust.

  25. February 11, 2010 2:13 pm

    I’ve never met you, but I think you are one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever encountered. This is so full of wisdom, truth, and honesty…it’s just beautiful. I hope I can learn to look at life the way you do.

    • February 11, 2010 2:41 pm

      You are so kind. One of my major struggles is that I don’t look like I used to because of all the meds and swelling… so to still see beauty there is hard sometimes. Thanks for seeing what’s inside.

  26. February 11, 2010 7:11 pm

    I’ve been hovering over the keyboard wondering what to type that hasn’t already been said.

    Then I realised I don’t need to worry about what’s already been said.

    You constantly amaze me with your hope, your unshakeable faith, your beauty. And Diane & I will meet you one day, and it better be this side of heaven too. Not that heaven’s not a great place to meet, but I currently have a reason to visit Iowa so I want to make good on that 🙂

  27. February 11, 2010 7:45 pm

    You know Iowa and I will welcome you with open arms! 🙂 Riley may bark at first, but I’m sure he’d warm up, too…

    Seriously, David, thank you. It means a lot.

  28. February 11, 2010 9:10 pm

    Wow, what an amazing inspiration you are. You CHOOSE joy, instead of pity. You are embracing life and relationships much more than many people who DO have the ability to be out and about do. You have inspired and encouraged me-thank you for your honesty, openness & example. God is using you to reach people all over the world through your choices. I pray He blesses you richly as you continue to choose joy…

    • February 11, 2010 10:50 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment… I’m glad you were encouraged, but I don’t think people realize how much their taking time to comment on my blog encourages ME. Choosing joy is made even simpler when blessings come at you right and left. Yes, my life is very difficult, but the relationships I’ve formed and the care I’ve both given and received far outweigh the hardships in my mind.

  29. February 12, 2010 8:45 am

    I’m just tagging on the end, backing up what my husband has already said (oh I know, I’m such an unoriginal thinker…LOL), and confirm it’s ALL TRUE.

    And I know you said about not feeling the sunshine & the fresh air again…but I can’t help praying that you will, one day. If that’s ok with you for me to pray for you that way….I don’t know an awful lot, but I know we’re children of God, and He’s pretty epic.

    Love you loads, and can’t wait to see you, cos it will happen too, right? 🙂

    • February 12, 2010 10:07 am

      Diane, the LAST thing I would ever say about you is that you’re an unoriginal thinker 🙂

      And I am HONORED that you would pray for me in that way. Don’t get me wrong… I believe in miracles. I would welcome one with arms wide open! But to live the life in front of me, I’ve chosen to embrace the now, whether it is my dream or not, because it’s from Him. If He heals me tomorrow, I will embrace that with the same spirit. I want to be as joyful and grateful in the valley as I am at the mountain top.

      Love you, Aussies. And can’t wait to see Ireland through your eyes soon!

  30. February 12, 2010 8:56 am

    Ohmy. This was fabulous and I love it, and I am sure I love you. 🙂 Your post is helping me put my measly concerns of the day in perspective…and are teaching me.

    Only God can give you the perspective you choose. Glad I could meet you through the internet.

    Thank you dear one.

    • February 12, 2010 10:08 am

      So glad to meet you, too! And thank you for your kind words… I don’t think your concerns are measly, though. Just different. But in the same way we can learn to be joyful in the midst of all of them. [Some days that’s easier than others, though, right?] 🙂

  31. February 12, 2010 9:03 pm

    I had to come back after a couple days to figure out what to write… Honestly, all I can say is this – I admire your courage. God is ‘pretty epic’ – as someone up there in the comments has said – but your courage and humility shine through in your posts and your answers to the comments here. Glad to have met you online – thanks for sharing your story! I’m going through some rough times emotionally right now, and reading this again reminds me that there is a beautiful truth to the pain I feel.

    Thank you….

    • February 12, 2010 10:55 pm

      Glad to have met you, too… and I’m sorry for the rough time you’re facing. It’s great to have such an amazing community here to rely on during those times, isn’t it? Thanks for coming back to comment and for your kind words.

  32. February 15, 2010 4:05 pm

    Very behind in the Google Reader department, but so very glad I plowed through. Thank you for sharing your heart. The dailyness (is that a word???) of chronic illness is teaching me a raw dependence on God that I’m not sure I could be learning any other way.

    You have some one liners here that I’ll be pondering for a very long time. “I still get to serve them. I just serve them differently.” Love that perspective. Thank you!!!

    • February 15, 2010 11:10 pm

      I’m glad you plowed through, too! 🙂 There is something about chronic illness that is hard to grasp unless you’ve experienced some form of it. But it has taught me more in a short time than I think I would have been able to absorb in a lifetime. And for that, I am grateful. It’s a hard row, but from it I know peace and trust. Thank God.

  33. February 18, 2010 10:59 am

    Wow, gitz. Your attitude is utterly inspiring. You would have loved to have known my Mom. A writer, and also limited by her body. In heaven, perhaps. You are an inspiration.

  34. LoveBrenda permalink
    February 26, 2010 10:37 am

    You are absolutely inspiring. God bless you.
    Love,
    Brenda

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