What do you think of when you hear the phrase “chronic health condition”? I used to think that it implied something serious, a health problem that surely pointed towards eventual death and/or a significantly lower standard of living.
After the last two or so years, though, I’m realizing that, in my own way, I am a fighter or two chronic health conditions. That is, as long as we define chronic as something that is ongoing, causes physical or emotional distress, and doesn’t really go away.
Chronic health problems
The two conditions to which I refer are obsessive compulsive disorder and endometriosis. Of course, these are treatable. There are things that one can do in order to make life not terrible with both issues. I’ve gotten help and medication to help with the OCD and am making good progress, and I also had a laparoscopic surgery in order to treat the endometriosis.
But the thing is, they aren’t perfectly healed. I am not perfectly healed. And that’s okay. At least, it has to be okay because I’m still here, living, and I intend to go on doing so.
Today’s scripture relates to this attitude or fact of life: the idea that imperfection is what we have to go through in order to reach eventual perfection.
In Doctrine and Covenants 24 verse 8, it states,
Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.
I don’t know if any of us would get excited to hear that we will have many afflictions. I received a blessing early in my mission that implied something similar to this idea (of having many health problems or afflictions). I wasn’t stoked. I mean, we hope for good news when we get blessings or receive personal revelation. We want to hear that we are near the end of our struggle and we will overcome! Life will be good! But sometimes it’s not as easy as all that. Sometimes we have many afflictions. Sometimes they are there to teach us patience. Other times it’s so we can help someone else down the road. Or maybe it’s just life.
But we have to remember the second half of the verse when we get disappointed with the first. One, we have to endure those afflictions. Why? Because our other option is to not endure them, which isn’t a very good option, if you ask me. Let’s not give up. Sure, it’s not easy. I don’t necessarily relish having OCD or endometriosis. They are physically and emotionally taxing. They don’t make my quality of life improve. But what choice do I have? I have to endure them and remember that the Savior went through way worse. I’m not sure He felt the pains of endometriosis (considering it’s a woman thing), but I bet He can empathize considering the way worse physical pain He endured. And He is rooting for me. And you. And all of us.
So endure your afflictions. Even and especially if they are many. Because it’s not like you’re the first one to go through trials. And you definitely won’t be the last.