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The Power of Words

The power of words is potent. The words we use mean a lot and say a lot about those using them. It’s a big stretch to say that they mean everything, because actions speak louder than words, but we are a species that communicates with words – whether spoken or written, heard or read.

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This is why I am so picky (some would argue, touchy) with words. Words convey so much more than people realize until they really think about it or until words affect them in a profoundly positive or negative way. I do not suffer with (or from) CF. At some point, I may be suffering from the effects of CF, but that is an entirely different statement by the message it conveys about one’s state of mind.

A sufferer is a victim. A person suffering from the effects of a disease or disability is someone with pain or a difficulty who refuses to let that be ruler of their lives. This is why I used to be so hesitant to let people know about my CF. Not so much now, but I’m still not going around as a poster boy because I’m a husband, Christian, entrepreneur, and lover of fine books and food long before I’m a CFer.

CF doesn’t define me; it is only a semicolon in my Webster’s entry. I would be giving up too many of my personal liberties to take on the shroud of that label, and I’m simply not willing to succumb to the debasement of my personal view of myself or the view others hold of me. One day I may very well need help from people, so until that day comes, I’m going to give to others.

What words are you using? How can you change your words to change your life like that man?

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. [Read more…]

Why I Am Not a CF Sufferer

SufferingI hate the terms/phrases “CF sufferer” or “I/they suffer from CF.” If there’s something you want to do that is sure to send me over the edge, refer to me as a “sufferer.” Do I lead an easy life? Heck no; I struggle for breath and limit some of my activities based on what I can do on a given day. Still, I wouldn’t expect the local paper to do a story on me opting out of the 5K race due to my infection with the headline: Local CF Sufferer Misses Out Again. That would be ludicrous.

Of course we suffer from time to time. More often than not in some peoples’ cases, but that’s not a reason to label your life as one of suffering.

“Suffering is a state of mind, not a state of body.” – Jesse Petersen

When I see someone with spina bifida or cerebral palsy who is bound to their wheelchair and often in pain, yet they live their life with a smile on their face and bringing delight to those around them, who are we to say that they are suffering unless they tell us, “Hey, I  am suffering down here. Don’t you dare have fun around me!”

I don’t associate with those who are suffering. They aren’t any fun and don’t add value to my life. It’s like some people are hypertonic by adding their life to everyone else and others are hypotonic, taking the life out of everyone around them. Disease or disability or not, people don’t want to be with hypotonic people because they will suck the joy out of anything and anyone. You know those people. Those people are the sufferers.

So, the next time you hear that phrase or are about to use that phrase, just think to yourself “does this person really act like they are suffering?”