On Identity

I want to state from the outset that I am thrilled by this reprieve we’ve been given with Ben’s seizures.  I am so thankful to have my husband back with his personality fully restored.  It is such a wonderful blessing not to have to watch Ben suffer the agony he experiences when he has multiple seizures.  But at the same time, I’ve learned something about myself recently.  I’ve learned how comfortable I’ve grown in the role of being a caretaker.

For a while I was clearly experiencing what is known as “Caretaker Burnout.”  At times I have felt drained and depleted, both emotionally and spiritually.  But now that the seizures are gone, I don’t really seem to know how to function anymore.  I don’t know what my role is.  We’ve been going through this trial for so long that I have become at home in the role of caretaker; I am used to always living in crisis mode.  The reality that I’m used to, the place I’ve grown to be comfortable in, involves Ben doing poorly and me reaching out to others for comfort, sympathy and support.  This is my reality.  This is my identity.  I know how to live day-to-day with Ben’s illness front and center in our lives.  It’s a lot less familiar for me to live normally.

I am embarrassed and humbled to admit that part of me is having trouble adjusting to our “new normal.”   My identity has become wrapped up in being a caretaker.  Ben not having seizures…this place is unfamiliar for me and feels foreign.  For so long now, I have walked around carrying Ben on my heart.  When I wasn’t home with Ben, I was continually aware of where he was and how he was doing; always wondering if I should change my plans or adapt my expectations due to his health.  Now I don’t need to think about these things.  Now that my circumstances have changed, I feel as though my identity needs to change along with them.

And then I remember that my identity is supposed to be rooted in God.  My identity is as a child of God, loved and cared for and forgiven.  How did I forget that along the way?

I know the seizures are walking alongside us.  Even if they’re gone, they’re still in the background, like an open computer program .   I will play the role of caretaker again.  But I need to remember that my identity is not rooted in my circumstances.  My identity is rooted in Christ.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

**Note…this post was written last night, before circumstances changed. Please pray for Ben.  Thank you.

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