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Chronic Illness - Chronic Pain Articles Available to Read and Reprint

Looking for Joy in Life When You Live with a Chronic Illness or Daily Pain

By Lisa Copen

"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." Luke 6:21

" ..a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."
Ecclesiastes 3:4

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
Proverbs 31:25

Joy. When was the last time you laughed until your side hurt from laughing... and not because of your typical aches and pains? I am the first to admit that despite physical ailments, life is good. I have happy moments and time with friends in which I feel joyful, but I also must admit that I laugh much less than I would like. Illness has a way of aging us much too soon. It makes us too serious at times, because we have to think about how everything will affect our body. There is no "running off to Vegas," —at least not without making sure that our prescriptions are filled, we have shoes to walk in or a wheelchair reserved. Illness takes away the ability to say, "We’ll be there!" and being assured that we won’t back out.

So how can we put aside the feelings of heaviness that accompany illness and find the joy that Tim Hansel describes in his book, You Gotta Keep Dancin’? "Joy has so much to do with how we see and hear and experience the world. It is not to be grasped, but given away. It is not to be contained, but shared... Joy, above all else, is a selfless quality which is magnified when it is shared and minimized with when is it selfishly grasped."

A particular commercial makes me cringe every time I hear it. An older man says, "Life is good when you have your health..." I want to scream at the television, "Life can be good even when you don’t have your health?" Do we need reminded that we should feel depressed and the absence of a good life just because we don’t "have our health!!"  Hansel writes, "Joy has more to do with who we are than what we have, more to do with the healthiness of our attitude than with the health of our body." Is this what Paul was getting at when he wrote, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..."? Joy is not dependent on our circumstances. A Yiddish Proverb says, "What soap is for the body, laughter is for the soul."

What makes you smile? What makes you laugh? Friends of mine, who live with chronic illness, recently adopted two new puppies and despite the challenges of taking care of them, they say, "They have brought laughter back into our house. There is life again in our home." Hansel suggests keeping a folder of jokes or sayings that bring you laughter. We’ve provided a few church bulletin bloopers to get your folder started.

When God promised Sarah a child she laughed, but God did give her what He promised and Sarah said, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me" (Genesis 21:6)

We may believe that our circumstances are not funny, but rest assured, God does have a sense of humor and He may express it in your life at the most-unexpected moment.

What could God promise you that would make you laugh? Health? Financial security? A healed relationship? Just when you think, "That’s impossible!" God may be tempted to say to you, "Why do you laugh?" (Genesis 18:13).

Take a moment this week to search out moments that make you smile. Start alaughter folder. Read the cartoons. But most importantly, when you pray, ask God to give you joy. Ask him to multiply those joyful moments in your life. God will bring more laughter into your life. Expect it!

Take a moment to laugh with us!

  • Don't let worry kill you. Let the Church help.
  • Thursday night-Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
  • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
  • For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Reverend and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
  • This afternoon there will be a meeting in the south and north ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
  • Tuesday at 4PM there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.
  • Wednesday, the Ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Jones will sing "Put Me In My Little Bed" accompanied by the pastor.
  • Thursday at 5PM there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become Little Mothers, please see the minister in his private study.
  • This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mr. Vassals to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
  • Next Sunday, a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and get a piece of paper.
  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement Friday.
  • A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
  • The 1991 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.
  • Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.
  • The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: " I Upped My Pledge-Up Yours."
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  • The Senior Choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.


Get a free download of 200 ways to reach out to someone who is hurting from Beyond Caseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend when you sign up for hopenotes, a monthly ezine. Author of this article, Lisa Copen is also the founder of Rest Ministries and National Invisible Illness Awareness Week.





Don't forget! This article can be reprinted for free or syndicate Lisa's new articles.