Stacey Shannon has two degrees in journalism and started her own freelance writing company in 2002. She has had nearly 1,000 articles in various publications. While she continues to work as a freelance journalist, copywriter and editor, she also is passionate about blogging. Her blog, Families with Grace, includes practical and spiritual tips for families to create homes filled with grace, love and faith.
These Light & Momentary Trials are Not Your Identity
I know! It’s strange to write these words [light and momentary] when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the last year and have arrived at the place where I wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at my young life and then look forward to my future, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I wonder,
“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.
Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors
So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)
And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)
And now Interview #2 with Stacey Shannon. Stacey struggles with “light and momentary pain” due to fibromyalgia and other UTI issues. Shannon shared on our Legacy Link-up about our father last summer. Greatest Legacy. She is a freelance writer and has her own blog Families with Grace. Find our interview below.
Welcome to June’s Legacy Link Up! But First, Read Stacey Shannon’s account of a legacy of love. Link-up at the bottom.
By: Stacey A. Shannon
Catch Me When I Fall
One of my first memories of my dad is of him catching me. I was an accident-prone child. In the first five years of my life, I broke a bone each year during the most ordinary types of things. When I was 5, I fell off a big wheel and broke my right arm. It was the worst break of them all. I remember not long after, I had a big plaster cast on my arm and started to fall again – this time into the picnic table outside. Just before I hit, strong arms stopped me.
Throughout my entire life, those strong arms have been there to support me. Only now as an adult do I even begin to understand the sacrifice and strength behind my father’s love. My dad has always been a quiet guy. Growing up, he didn’t talk all that much, and he also didn’t smile all that much. He worked long hours. I just thought that was his personality. In middle school, I started learning more about his story. My dad, who had been drafted into the Vietnam War, was battling with PTSD.
Vietnam War & PTSD
I did lots of research about the Vietnam War and PTSD as a college student. As a magazine major, I had the freedom a few times to pick article topics, so I interviewed other veterans about what they had faced in the war and afterward. I heard snippets here and there from my parents, but not all that much. My dad also didn’t want to talk about Vietnam. It was a topic that was mostly off limits.
What I learned most from my research is how strong my dad really is. While I knew his physical strength, I didn’t quite understand his mental strength until I did research and talked to other veterans.
Dad Paid a Price
I didn’t know as a child the price my dad paid when we went to see fireworks each Fourth of July. I didn’t know how much energy it took for him to show up at every single school event in the midst of all he was dealing with. I didn’t know how much effort he had to put forth just to function and be a dad and husband.
I Never Doubted His Love
Of course, he wasn’t perfect and had his flaws. But never once in my life have I doubted my father’s love or his support. Not one single time. I nearly lost him when I was in my mid-20s. He had complications from injuries sustained during a motorcycle accident. It’s been 15 years since then and I continue to be grateful for every moment we have together. I am grateful to be able to see him love on my children, who were born a few years after his accident.
Almost Lost Him
His accident gave him a second chance on life. He was able to be freer from his PTSD struggle than he has been since he returned home from the jungle. He still deals with effects of PTSD, but he smiles much more easily these days and talks more often. He plays with my children, my niece and nephews and loves them fiercely, just as he always has my brother and me.
Legacy of Love
In the midst of pain, my dad has created a legacy of love. His love helps me understand the sacrificial love of my heavenly Father. I see the sacrifices he made (and know there are plenty I know nothing about) to love his family and provide for us in every way even when it was costing him significantly.
That love is what I want to pass on to my own children. I don’t struggle with PTSD, but I have my own challenges through chronic health problems. I hope and pray my children will never doubt my love or support, just as I have never done with my father. That is a legacy I want to pass on for generations to come.