Tag Archives: burdens



Broken sleep, broken hearts…

Last night my head ached, again, and I could not find a comfortable way to hold it so that it would not hurt.  So eventually, I just got up from my bed and went downstairs, hoping that a drink, my couch and some medicine would bring comfort and rest.  As usual, when I got up, our dog, Roy, got up with me.

My thoughts wandered to all the people in my life who need prayers, and I mentioned each of them to the Lord as they came to mind.  So many people, and so many needs, streamed through my mind and heart as I prayed, even as my head continued to ache. Over the years I’ve learned that, sometimes, when I am wakeful and unsettled like this, the only way to find relief is to pray my way out of it.

Last night my prayers went up for people who suffer affliction, addiction, loneliness.  I thought about the bereaved, the deceived, the diseased.  People around me are struggling with burdens I cannot even begin to imagine…but when I lift them up in prayers, I know that, at least for that moment, they don’t struggle alone.

And neither do I.  God is with me, whether I am conscious of it or not.  I can feel Him, in the quiet of the night, in promptings to pray…even in the comfort of my couch, a cold drink and doggie snuggles.




Words, burdens and letting go…

For nearly 20 years, I have carried a small book around with me.  It’s gone pretty much everywhere I’ve gone.  Inside its front cover I wrote down when and where I bought it.


I have always loved blank books and journals, their potential for creativity and a place for me to vent my thoughts.  This particular one drew me in for 2 reasons.  First, I loved its cover art depicting the sun, moon and stars against a swirly blue background.  I think it’s permissible to judge a book by its cover when the inside is blank!


Secondly,  I especially loved that its pages were unlined.  I have enough restriction in my life.  The pristine whiteness of its pages gave me freedom to write whatever I wanted, in whatever way I wanted…upside down, in a circle, diagonally or just crooked.

This little book became my constant companion, a safe place for me to write down the feelings I could not express any other way.  Looking at those words now brings back memories of the extremes in my life at the time…mostly extreme pain and sadness.  It contains the overflow of my broken heart and spirit during the last year of Mama’s life on Earth, a period when I was afraid and lonely, not thinking clearly and not making good choices.

I’m not proud of a lot of what I did during this chapter of my life.  My spiritual life and relationship with God were at an all-time low.  I couldn’t pray, really; all I could do was hurt, and sometimes, feel angry.  I realize now that God heard every anguished scream of my heart, even though I was not talking to Him.  He was still listening.

Even as wretched as I was, as horribly as I was acting and as distant as God seemed to be, I know now that He was right beside me all along, carrying me when I could not walk through life on my own.  And not just carrying me, but sending blessings, glimpses of hope that I could survive this valley.  His grace eventually brought me out the other side, altered for sure, but profoundly grateful.

I don’t think I need to keep my little book any longer, or at least, not the words it contains.  I think I can finally let that part of my life go.  Those pages need to be burned up in the bonfire of forgetting, of cleansing, never again a burden to be Carried.


We’ve All Got Something


Sharing burdens…

My left arm and shoulder look totally “normal”. At least, the skin there looks normal. It is unmarked by anything except age and the looseness resulting from shrinkage following my weight loss surgery.


My right arm and shoulder, however, look quite different. I have a rare skin condition there called lichen sclerosus et atrophicus (LSA).



I first noticed a strange-looking little patch of shiny, white skin when I was about 20 years old. Mama noticed it too, and I remember her being terrified that it was psoriasis. She took me to see a dermatologist, who performed a biopsy to make sure that it was not cancer.  Then he gave me the diagnosis of LSA and said that in all his years of practice, he had only seen a couple of cases.  Then came the parade of students, nurses and other lookers-on to view my skin, because, “This may be their only opportunity to see this condition.  It’s that rare.”  Several times since then, that scenario has repeated itself as doctors ask me if I mind their nurses and med students coming in to take a look.  I don’t really mind if medical professionals want to see it, as long as they treat me like a human and not just a disease.

Looking back, I wish it had been something as common and as treatable as psoriasis. I don’t minimize the seriousness of psoriasis; it can be a devastating condition. But at least people are familiar with the term, and there are treatments for it.

My condition is much less common, and much less treatable. There is no known cause, and the only known treatment is a specially-compounded testosterone ointment or cream which may or may not be covered by health insurance.  The testosterone treatment never helped me anyway, so it doesn’t matter that my insurance doesn’t cover it.

The affected skin does not behave like normal skin.  The LSA penetrates through to the deepest layers of the dermis.  When exposed to the sun, it doesn’t tan.  Sometimes it hurts.  Occasionally a patch of the affected skin will break open, but it doesn’t bleed.  It weeps.  And sometimes it itches, the kind of itch that makes me want to scratch at it with a fork!

The condition gradually spread down my upper arm and up toward my neck.  It expanded to roughly twice its original area when I was about 40 years old, I suspect due to my changing hormones around that time.  But that’s just a guess.

I am really fortunate as far as LSA patients are concerned.  Over 90% of cases are located on the patient’s genitalia, and the condition often impairs urinary/excretory and sexual functioning.  So I am blessed that it’s just on my arm and shoulder.

Why am I sharing all of this?  I guess I just needed to remind myself that we’ve all got something…some scar, pain, fear, disappointment.  Some burden we carry.  If I can be open about my burdens, maybe I can be more sensitive to the burdens of other people.  Maybe I can even share them.