“I want to be the hero of my own story and not the victim. I wrote it in my journal so that I would remember to make the right choice every day.”

She looked at me sideways.  Each crease on her face depicted years of physical and emotional trauma; her body a portrait of the scars of life, her posture reflective of the pain from her current health flare. Her voice was soft and unsure but carried with it a glimmer of hope. The corner of her mouth lifted into half a smile, her soft blue eyes inquisitive.

“How do I do that? How do I manage when this thing, this flare, is on top of me every day and I feel like it’s winning?

“How do I do that? How do I manage when this thing, this flare, is on top of me every day and I feel like it’s winning?”

I thought for a moment; images materializing in my mind like a split reel motion picture. World War II heroes parading down city streets, flags waving, National Anthem blaring, everyone cheering, thanking, admiring.

But that’s the end of the story, not the beginning. Rewind the reel and you see an entirely different narrative. Tearful goodbyes, muddy trenches, debilitating exhaustion, the smell of fear, crippling diseases, the unrelenting bombardment, the stench of death.

The veterans in the parade were made. They were not born. Every day that they chose to get back up. Every day that they chose to fight back. Every day that they kicked fear in the face. Every day that they found themselves in hell and just kept going.  Every day that they fought to make it home. Every day that they grappled with life. Every day that they survived. Every one of those moments made them a hero.

That’s how we become the hero of our health stories too. It’s the dogged determination to pick ourselves up and carry on in spite of the pain. It’s in all the little things we accomplish, like bathing, and eating, taking a walk and choosing to smile. It’s in every moment that we refuse to believe that this hell will continue, and trust in faith that God will deliver us.  It’s every time that we fight for life and survive.

The world is full of heroes. I see them all the time.

You are a hero. I see you. Hang in there. The parade is coming. 

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