Two years ago, I was barely able to get out of bed. Two years ago, I wondered if life would ever get better, or if I was doomed to a future of isolation and deprivation. Words were the weapon I employed to battle my way out of the kind of depression that accompanies debilitating illness. In February, 2016, I wrote this poem:
Maybe I just needed a new perspective –
like the famed Hanged Man of tarot –
committed to some deep, internal need,
willed a horizontal shift, landed with intent.
Maybe it is not my legs that are disabled,
but a soul longing to escape the continual
discord of perpetual motion, a never-ending
to-do list of the success driven persona.
Maybe there is a greater purpose for being
that is not encompassed by outer drive –
a mysterious meaning that is revealed only
in the quiet stillness in which I now dwell.
Maybe I have been called to a personal
pilgrimage – a Camino of sorts, a crusade
of spirit designed to cleanse and enlighten –
the journey is certainly arduous enough.
Maybe it is through acceptance, finally
having released a need to control, move,
achieve, accomplish that I am able to
embrace the true lessons of suffering.
Maybe this cocooning is an act of Grace
demanding surrender before the actual
transformation occurs, and I will emerge
legless or not, winged and ready to soar.
Maybe, just maybe, this stripped down,
barren existence is not a penance for
shameful living, but a desert crossing,
offering re-alignment, hard-fought peace.
(V.J. Knutson, 2016)
Rereading this poem now, I applaud my spirit’s resilience. I give thanks for the strength to carry on and believe even when I could not see an end. Today, the illness lingers, but it has lost its suffocating grip. The “transformation” is occurring; I am feeling the potential of “wings”.
For all of you out there feeling trapped in the moment, keep faith – you are stronger than you know, and there really is a tomorrow.