A New Decade

I am so grateful that I got to experience the last few months of this closing decade of mine as a healthy person. The vast majority of my twenties, I was very sick.

Sometimes I can’t help feeling like those years were almost completely a loss: the years when most are finally living like adults, independent and full of possibilities, I spent most of my time in bed, unable to do more than type on my laptop and occasionally make a meal.

In some moments, those 6+ years of illness seem stolen, wasted without my consent.
But then, all things considered, I realize I milked those years.
Above all, I learned. I learned and I learned and I learned. And my whole view of health absolutely transformed. 

No, I didn’t do as much as I probably could have had I been healthy. As creative and ambitious as I was while sick, I can only imagine how much more I could have accomplished if my body had been running at full capacity. 

But … had I been healthy for all those years, would I have cared? Would I have valued it? Would I have taken advantage of my abilities and cranked life into high gear?

Knowing my view of health up until I got sick, I honestly doubt it. I know me now, and I know me then. And pre-illness Kacie was able but without the fire lit under her to get out there and thrive. To pave my own way, form my own opinions, learn about the hardest parts of life for myself and not through the watered-down stories we're fed. I most likely would have camped out in the familiar, lukewarm world I once knew, where there were very few questions and I of all people had no answers—a world in which I just behaved, followed what society dictated, and did what was expected of me. I would most likely still be living in ignorance, like my body was invincible and I could eat whatever I want and use whatever I want with no repercussions down the road. In that case, my rude awakening would still be to come, as everyone’s does eventually. So better it came sooner than later. 

So then in that case, all my waves of sadness over the “lost years” are most likely completely unfounded.
Because I needed the pain. I needed the misery. I needed the suffering. I needed it all to know the beauty of what I was missing.
And more than that, far bigger than any feelings of loss, look what I have gained. I know well that God specializes in turning beauty to ashes, and I see over and over again so many ways that He used my years of illness for good—both mine and others’. No matter how I look at it and turn the experience over in my mind, I know it was best for me to experience it. And the myriad of truths I learned about health, my body’s particular needs, alternative medicine, healing, and the world we leave in—truths that I am now armed with for the future—truly make every year of misery worth it. I had to suffer to get where I am—in every sense—today. And I truly would not change it if I could. I would not trade in the knowledge for years wiped free of the suffering. Maybe shave a year or two off and find hope sooner, but still.... 

So, after all that, I realize that I did indeed milk those years. God allowed them to be as they were and in His grace and love allowed me to glean abundantly through the sorrow.
And in that case, it’s not that I didn’t deserve the suffering—it’s that I didn’t deserve the gifts that came of it.
I am so grateful—battle-scarred but victorious and grateful. And I am thrilled to launch into my next decade healthy from the start. Because the hope is real, and God is so good.

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