Have you ever been involved in a task or a conversation and paused long enough to wonder how exactly you got there? “How did we end up talking about this?” you ask yourself. Thinking back you put together the pieces that led you to where you are.
Last night I found myself praying and the thought crossed my mind, “How did I get here?” It happened while I was praying for the health of someone I have never met, never talked to, and who I honestly know almost nothing about. Why was praying for the health of a lady who lives over half the country away so important? What has happened to make her health one of the priorities of my prayer life, even if just for a few days? What has happened to make the lives of not just this lady, but of many other people who we have never met important to us?
When Kim was diagnosed with RAD last October we became active in the online Rheum community through blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. Through our involvement we have learned more than we ever wanted to know about RAD. Honestly. Yet knowledge truly is power and we become more empowered every day we are involved. We have also developed connections with other individuals who struggle with this disease on a daily basis. Some of those connections have produced online friendships and prompted genuine concern and compassion for others who are fighting the same fight.
Surely that is part of the reason why I found myself praying for someone I don’t even know. There is a common interest. She and Kim share the same disease, and right now this lady isn’t doing well. The young woman I was praying for has been hospitalized due to complications in her fight with RAD. She needs prayer and that is the best thing I can do to help.
Yet I think there is something else that lies beneath simply sharing the same disease. Certainly we find support and comfort from those who are facing the same struggles. Advice is invaluable when we are faced with taking on a new medication. The ability to tweet, “Has anyone ever had . . . happen to them?”, and began receiving answers from around the globe in a matter of minutes is overwhelmingly helpful. To know that there is a support system of people who know exactly what you are going through and are willing to set aside their own pains to bear yours for a moment is truly priceless. But underneath all of that is something else and I think I’m just figuring it out.
It’s all about hope.
All of it. Every concern. Every piece of advice. Every ounce of compassion is about hope. Everyone involved in the Rheum community whether they realize it or not is in it for one underlying reason. Hope.
The community cares because they hope for the day when a cure will be found and there will be no need to hope. They teach with the hope that one day it will lead to that one breakthrough that is needed. The community is involved and educates and raises awareness all because they hope for a cure. This doesn’t lessen the feelings of compassion and concern. It strengthens it. A community of thousands strong united in hope that one day no one will hear the words, “You have Rheumatoid Arthritis.”
So I pray for a young woman because I truly know the pain she is in because I see it in Kim on a daily basis. I pray for her because the future of this awful disease scares me beyond words. I pray because I never want anyone to suffer this way. But most of all, I pray for wisdom for this lady’s doctors. I pray with hope that they will put another piece of the puzzle together that brings us a step closer to a cure. I talk and remain involved and seek to raise awareness for foundations like the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation because I hope for better tomorrows. For Kim and the Rheum community and for strangers in hospital beds on the other side of the country.
It’s all about hope . . . for a cure.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7 ESV)