Nobody Understands Land

It’s a dark and lonely land. You don’t go there often because you know that not much good comes out of even a brief visit there. It’s totally quiet in the house. After bedtime. Outside your window, you can hear the crickets and locusts talking nonstop to the moon but that’s about all.

It’s nighttime.

You’ve somehow managed to make it through another day, but you’re so tired. More like exhausted. You desperately need rest. You crave sleep because your body keeps borrowing calories from itself to fight the diseases. Your diseases.

You let yourself think about it momentarily. Living with chronic illness. Even when the physical symptoms subside, the emotional and mental drain persist. The disabilities you think you disguise so well in attempts to not gain pity or unsolicited attention, worry or that look in another’s eyes.

But tonight, you let go. You give yourself the freedom to temporarily think about all of the hardships. The many ways your life is different, more difficult. How even now in the dark, by yourself, you’re afraid to take the deep breaths that you need because you may start coughing. Damn lungs. Then, your guts will ache. Damn guts.

Your sad late night thinking helps you catch the red-eye flight. Destination: “Nobody Understands Land.” You’re on the plane. Without flight attendants. All alone.

You arrive.

Hello, there.

Welcome to “Nobody Understands Land.”

Only nobody is there to greet you. It does not feel like an all-inclusive vacation. Or a romantic get-away. It feels cold. Empty. Desolate. It feels like you’re standing in an uncomfortable place. A place where your thoughts and feelings chose to go. But strangely, your weary body knew better. You don’t have a jacket. Big surprise: all of your luggage got lost.

Everyone you were traveling with must have hopped on a different plane. A plane that you could have caught a long time ago before your life changed forever. Before you got sick.

Your life is different now. From all of theirs.

Tonight, you’re right. Nobody understands the pain of living with the daily physical reminders of your fragility. Your broken guts. Your struggling lungs. Your twisting kidneys. And all of the other parts that ache or quietly whimper. Nobody could possibly understand the isolation associated with the millions of different directions your diseased thoughts can go.

Yet, somehow their favorite guilty pleasure and escape is, “Nobody Understands Land.”

Only, it feels hopeless there. It should never be a final stop. A brief lay-over might be okay. A place to sit for a moment. “Alonely,” as one of your boys might say. You stop, sit down. You think and think until you feel a tapping on your shoulder. That nudging. Oh. God interrupts you, picks you up and carries you to catch your flight back home. As you’re in God’s arms, you look around. Ahhhh. You see. It’s not empty. It’s not so dark anymore. There are others. Tons of others. All of them are looking down as they hold their heads in their hands. You can’t leave yet, you need them to know too. They are not so different. They are not all alone. You see them. You need them to see you too. You jump out of God’s arms to tell them that you understand. Because you do.

Every single time, He gets you out of “Nobody Understands Land.” Because it’s not true.

Somebody always understands. Somebody sits in the chair and aches right next to you. Perhaps a different physical hurt but somehow the same feeling. A universally understood hurt. Empathy can be real. There’s always someone somewhere who gets it. Someone who truly understands or wants to try and understand. Someone who feels your pain, recognizes the pain in your eyes and wants to take it all away. But since they cannot, they sit next to you. Holding your hand so you can feel their presence or so that they can feel yours.


You are not alone. You never have been. You never will be.

Somebody always understands.

A Bad Hour. Or so.


I don’t want this fuckin bag anymore. This is today, this moment. This is not everyday. But right now it’s too much. I’m doing my best and trying my hardest to not feel deflated. Defeated. Angry. And mostly sad. I’ve tried doing nice stuff for other people. Feeble efforts to shift my stinking thinking outside of me. I know that I’ve got to get past myself. But this is the thing. Between the sweeping up the mess of a stolen purse and stolen car. And the feelings of violation of thieves rifling through my stuff and leaving certain unimportant things that don’t matter, like tampons and essential oil, but taking pictures, important information, and everything else..And  the needing to change my bag, and the being on my period, I cracked. I was already fragile. And I broke. It’s too much. Thanks for the tampons, you assholes. I’m sorry they bothered you being in my purse. Perfect timing on returning those a week later.

It’s hard managing a chronic invisible illness some days. And today is one of them. It’s hard to drop kids off at school, shower, get ready and hope that my thinking, sensitivity and coping gets better. It’s hard to accept the reality. Chronic. Always. Never ending. Sometimes, I just need to get pissed, say some cuss words. Maybe take some glass bottles to the recycling center.

Let. It. Out. Exhale. Exhale. Oh wait. Breathe in again.

Then, move on.

My husband tells me that going through this has made me incredibly mature. He says that if I died, he would try to find a woman who has endured a lot. So she would have perspective. And so that she would not worry so much about some of the small things. It’s really a gigantic compliment, but I would just rather be immature today. Diseases free. I just want to magically take away all of this. Poof. All of it. I don’t want to be in the bathroom anymore. Or in the waiting room. Or in the many “-ologists'” offices. I don’t want to be on the phone reordering insurance cards, freezing accounts or talking to a detective.

Since I can’t make it all go away, I will do one small thing at a time. Because I have to. It’s not one day at a time. Sometimes, it’s one minute at a time. Just those little bitty off-balance baby steps. Wobble. Wobble. Fall. Cry on the ground. Then, push myself back up. I will take a shower, all the while crying, lamenting and praying to the God who knows me best. And yet, still loves me the most. My hands ache from gripping onto the faith that continues to strengthen me and fill me in my weakest, emptiest times. I will take enormous comfort in knowing that Jesus hurt too. And that he loved intensely on people just like me. And He still does. Thankfully, I believe in a God that cares deeply and wants me out of the bathroom too. I believe in a God that places people outside of my door who help me laugh, who help me get out. Who tell me I have snot on my face. And then help wipe the snot from my face. Or hand me a kleenex. And they love on me in a crazy, relentless way. And because I truly believe all of this, I will keep walking wobbly, strongly, awkwardly, and often, with the support of those who love me. I will always share my struggles and the tiny, but oh, so mighty victories too. Like getting out of the bathroom today. Getting dressed. Moving forward. Thank the Lord. Who knew? It’s a beautiful day out.