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Finding Meaning in the Trials of Life

Hiding Behind HandsIt’s been pretty common for me to be able to look back on events a few days, weeks, or months back and be able to at least see some good in something bad that happened, even if I don’t see the actual reason why something bad happened. I’m introspective and reflective like that, especially with the number of boring jobs that didn’t utilize my brain to the fullest… even if my hands and feet were busy all day.

What I’ve always had a harder time doing is finding meaning to – the deepest reason for – the worst things. In fact, I went a whole 31 years before I had anything more than an inkling about why I have CF. The best I’d been able to muster before the end of last year was that people are always watching me if they know I have CF to see how I respond to things of life and to see if I ever use it as a crutch or if it’s consuming me.

On several occasions since I was 18, I’ve had adults many years my senior tell me in small groups or in private that they admire me for my courage or whatnot that had an impression on them… but that doesn’t seem like enough of a reason to me. Does it to you? That’s along the same lines as reasoning that I have CF solely to bring glory to God by not despising Him through my times of suffering or trials. While I whole-heartedly agree that is a piece of sanctification, I don’t think it’s reasonable to conclude that this disease exists and affects certain people of all walks of life in order for some of them to shine and reflect good through it.

I believe I’ve found the meaning, at last. I mentioned it yesterday and once earlier: I have CF so I can help those who come along behind me. I’m far from perfect, and in fact, I’m a very flawed and borderline wretched person even by non-God standards. I battle serious character flaws daily and the memories of many poor decisions of my past. My epiphany is not unlike the drug dealer or murderer who speaks to teens from jail and says that if they can keep just one kid from going through what they went through because of hearing their words, it is all worth it.

Every blockage. Every aerosol. Every infection, cough, supplement, pill, and torment. I can’t keep another CFer from experiencing those things, though. What I can do and will do is tell them that I’ve been in a place similar or worse than where they are but that I came through it stronger as a result. My life is powerful. I just read today in the book Boundaries that โ€Ž”Power is not something you demand or deserve, it is something you express.” By sharing my experiences, it is an expression of the power that is held hidden from view that came as a result of those experiences. Only by sharing can that power be transferred to others to give them hope, strength, or a vision of the future.

How many young parents get the diagnosis from the doctors and are told their kid will never amount to anything? That they’ll more likely than not be divorced in a few years? Where is the hope in that? It’s no wonder a significant portion of the CF community wears black in everything they do and say!

We need more young, middle, and old men like Ronnie, Jerry, James, Phil, Mitch, and Josh for the little fibros out there to look and and realize that they can be successful, happy, married, healthy, and old. We also need more women available for the little cysters; people like Andrea, Beth, Piper, Justine, Jamie, Stina, Stacey, Stephanie, and Katharine… just to name a few.

My little buddies Kaleb and Jackson need all of the positive CF role models they can get.


  1. You are wise.

    Glad I can help my cysters out when I can! I love this CF community like no other. Keep on posting!


  2. Great post!!!!

    ๐Ÿ™‚ There seems to be an existentialist theme in your posts lately. After finals are done, i’m going to write a post about CF and Existentialism.

    I’m glad to see that you have been able to find positive purpose in living with CF. It is an incredibly difficult task and, sometimes it seems, an uphill battle.

    The good thing about this day and age is that we have the internet. It helps us cysters and fibros support and encourage one another.

  3. Kristi Bowers says

    Great post, im going to link both to my blog when i can get to a computer, also im going to share these with some people if thats ok. I might even post on my blog, but ill credit you. Thanks for posting

  4. Thanks for the shout out, Jesse! It’s nice to be recognized along with those other fantastic people that you mentioned!

  5. Webbinsc says


  6. I started to understand my purpose in life about 10 years ago and have briefly written about it a little while ago. I would have been about your age when things started to make sense. Excellent post Jesse ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Jennifer reasoner says

    This is a great post- and one of the reasons I enjoy reading your blog so much. Always something positive for us to reflect on. As a CF parents, we are walking a hard road too and need purpose in our struggles as well. I sure hope you get to meet Brett one day and he can be one of your little fibro dudes, too!