"What is cystic fibrosis?” “What is it like having CF?” “You were born with CF, right?”
Do these questions sound familiar to you? If you have CF like me, then you probably answer these kinds of questions all the time. With as much patience as I can muster, I always try to give an answer. I really do appreciate the opportunity to help someone learn more about CF.
There have been times, however, that I have wondered why someone has not asked me this question: “Why do you believe you have CF?”
If you have CF, does that question make you pause? It makes me take quite a long pause! I suppose I could give an answer from a genetic perspective with something like this:
“My mother and father each carry a copy of a CF-causing gene. When my mom became pregnant, I inherited their CF genes. Therefore, I have CF.”
For years I’ve wondered about my “why.” I reasoned the question away to broken genetics or bad luck. I suppose I accepted these to be true. After all, what other explanation was there? I have often felt that having something as serious as cystic fibrosis just isn’t fair. This feeling rang especially true for me when, as a child, so many other kids didn’t have CF. Even now as an adult, I can get to feeling sorry for myself when think about so few adults have CF.
For many years, I did not have a positive attitude or outlook on life. Fear and anxiety seemed to rule my mind and emotions.
Despite having a wonderful support system in my family, friends, and clinic team, it wasn’t enough for me to place my hope in them. In fact, I felt more broken in my soul than I ever did in my body.
I needed answers and I wanted them desperately! Who could really help me find the answer to the question, “Why do I have CF?” That answer would be nice, but as I pondered it, I really needed answers to greater questions stirring within me. Questions like “Why am I here?” “What am I supposed to do with my life?” People often encouraged me to believe in myself and have faith. And that’s not bad or wrong. But for me it wasn’t enough. How do you have faith? What or whom am I going to put faith in?
There’s a story that I had heard of and eventually read for myself about a man who had been born blind. This man didn’t become blind later in life. The story explains that he was literally woven together as a blind baby in his mother’s womb. He nor his parents caused the blindness. He was not in an accident that caused the blindness. No one could blame his bad luck for the blindness. This story was amazing to me! I immediately replaced the man’s blindness with my cystic fibrosis. The story explains the reason the man was born blind: “So that the works of God may be displayed in him (the man who was blind).”
When I was younger, it was hard for me to imagine that CF could have any redeemable qualities. Because I have CF, it is far easier for me to relate to other peoples’ weaknesses, sickness, hurts, anxieties, and fears. Had I not been born with CF, I am sure I would not be able to empathize with others as well. Sometimes it takes a hurting person to help a hurting person.
If you came up to me today and asked, “David, why do you believe you have CF?” I would answer this way: God has designed me from the day my mother conceived me with a plan to bless me, not to curse me. His plan was to draw me out of the darkness that surrounded my mind and soul. He wants to show me the power of forgiveness through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. God wants me to place all my hope and faith in Him. Because of this, I can live my life to the fullest no matter how difficult my journey. Because of this, I want to share God’s love whenever possible. I want to fight the good fight of faith despite the challenges of living with CF.
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