Sometimes, I forget that coughing all the time isn't normal. I forget that when most people get a cold, they don't then feel like a truck ran over them for a good month. I forget that most people don't have to remember to take their pills or else their stomach will "thank" them by sending them to bed to curl up in a ball and/or to the bathroom until the immense, knife-like pain finally eases up. I forget that some people have no idea what it feels like to spend the night in the hospital or to get blood drawn at the sign of any little problem or even to just go under anesthesia (and wake up from it..I don't know which is worse).
I was reminded of all this again these last few weeks. I got a cold about a week and a half ago, and honestly, I have felt worse than I have since probably my pneumonia episode at Christmas. My lungs are fighting to keep going, struggling to keep the infection at bay. However, between the cold and the CF bacteria already in my lungs, I've been practically coughing up a lung. Several times this week, I've started coughing and been unable to stop myself, no matter how hard I tried. You can imagine all the funny looks I got from that. On top of that, my sinuses aren't doing well because apparently they know that they're about to go under serious surgery and have decided to make the weeks before surgery as annoying as possible. Thanks, sinuses. You are too kind.
Despite my health problems the past few weeks (and all 21 years of my life), I pray that my life is full of joy and love for others. This morning at church, we had a sermon on joy. The pastor pointed out that joy is not a feeling. It's not dependent on circumstances. It doesn't go away when problems arise. Joy is a calm presence that comes from knowing that we get Heaven. When we die and enter into eternity, we will be in the presence of God forever and ever with no more tears, no more pain, no more disease, no more suffering. Joy comes because we keep our eyes on the ultimate ending, on our finish line. I pray that when hardships come my way, whether they be health related or not, that I am able to keep my eyes on Jesus and share my hope in Christ with others watching me suffer.
God, you are good. In the good times and the bad, you are good. When I don't understand what's going on around me or what you're doing in my life, you are good. When I'm fighting CF and having problems just trying to keep breathing, you are good.