‘The Amazing Technicolour Pyjama Therapy’

Emily Ackerman’s debilitating illness led to much time being spent in bed or a wheel chair.

Identity

She challenges me about issues of identity:

‘It’s as if the well world puts sick people into a box, slams the lid and slaps a label across the top.

Labels carry a simple message. Once they’re on, they stick like mad and are hard to get off again. Sometimes we join in and label ourselves. Here are some of the labels stuck to the sick, whether spoken or unspoken:

‘Victim, Patient, Mad, Hypochondriac, Lazy, Different, Poor Soul, Wonderful, disabled, Weird, unemployed, Housebound, Invalid, Ill.’

Honesty

I admire her honesty about life, sickness and faith:

‘During a particularly poorly phase, I became hurt and indignant at God’s stillness. Did I really want to follow this God, who sees all yet does nothing? I felt like an orphan, abandoned and unwanted; or even worse that God was watching my every move with a hostile and judgemental eye. When I realised that this same God was the only one who could heal this hurt, I felt exposed, humiliated and powerless. That was the darkest pit of all.’

Prayer and Healing

She has something to teach ‘the well majority’:

‘It’s hard to know when to stop praying for a specific healing in the face of no apparent results. Balancing perseverance with submission is a tricky thing to do, particularly when you feel hurt or disappointed.

For both of these issues, there is no shortage of people who think they know what’s best for you. Jumping through hoops to please others may not gain you anything but exhaustion.

There are no easy answers here. Only you know what you can handle and what you feel is right before God. He’s still with you, caring for you through the pain.’

Emily Ackerman: ‘The Amazing Technicolour Pyjama Therapy’ (2014):

She says: ‘Before I was ill I worked as a doctor. Now I’m a patient.’

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