What does hope look like when your chronic illness spans years that turn into decades? Lisa's story tells us just that. As one of our insightful People Hope Tribe members, Lisa lets us into her story of long-lasting illness, the grieving, trusting, and hoping along the way, and the grace and wisdom of walking this journey for such a long time. Hers is a story of strength, make no mistake.
"Come Together" is a poem about the People Hope Tribe - our global community made up of both chronically ill and healthy people who are passionate about spreading hope. Tribe, you share your lives so generously, boldly breaking down isolation. You share your challenges with dignity, and your victories with grace. It is with admiration, respect, and validation that we celebrate the ways in which you daily come together.
Us: the concept of people who share ourselves.
We hope to feel heard;
The voices that encourage their voices.
looking to give purpose,
empowerment, community, passion.
Change: a result.
People, local and international,
to curate change,
and find support; hope.
"It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough! ...By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst."
[Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,12 MSG]
We would love to invite you to be a part of our amazing Tribe! If you’re daily choosing hope no matter what life throws at you, you’re already in! You belong here, and we are thrilled to welcome you. Go ahead and start using #PeopleHopeTribe on your social media posts, click the hashtag to scroll through and “get to know” other amazing men and women from our global community, and know that you are never alone!
How do we continue pushing forward when our legs become weak? How do we hold onto hope when our hands grow tired? These are real, honest, raw questions that many of us are daily wrestling through. It's easy to slip into a pattern of outwardly pretending that everything's okay, and not admitting, even to ourselves, that we've grown weary, all while we inwardly crumble. It's easy to simply loosen our grip on hope and lose traction. But hope isn't a one-time decision, and a purposeful life isn't one that's free of obstacles.
"So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong." - Hebrews 12:12-13 (NLT)
I know you may not feel like it right now, but that title applies to you; it’s well-earned, and it’s one that I think you need to hear. You are a conqueror, a leader, God's battle axe in the world. You have purpose. You have strength. You have dignity.
You're also not alone. Around the world millions of us are navigating this journey of life with illness too, and we’re walking it together. I’ll say it again because there’s healing in these words — you’re not alone.
And we really do understand what you’re going through. We know what it's like to feel weak and broken down when your body can't perform tasks that other guys can. We understand the toll that an average day can cause to your system. We know what it is to push ourselves too hard, and pay for it as a result. And just like you sometimes we feel like we aren't as much of a leader or a man as our able-bodied friends.
However, we also know that we still have value. We know that we are still called to great purpose. We know that we are still leaders both in our lives, and in the lives of those around us. We are relentlessly fighting and pushing forward; striving and giving our very best, and you're no different.
Banding together with others doesn't make you weak or defeated; it makes you stronger and more courageous.
So it’s with enormous wells of common ground that we stand together in this community, this tribe, this family. From all over the globe, we boldly band together as men of great courage; men whose character is made only more honorable, noble, tried and true through our illnesses. We stand, steadily ridding our communities of stigma, and proving time and again that hope can take its place. Most importantly, we stand together, and together we are as bold as lions.
I want to tell you that it's okay to need rest. It's okay that you get tired quicker than your friends. It’s okay to need a nap to get through the day. It's okay to not be able to go to the gym. It's okay to hurt, and it's okay to cry and be frustrated. But always know that your value isn’t dependent on those things. Your value isn't determined by how far you can throw a football, how much weight you can deadlift, or even how manly you feel. Rather it's defined by what God says about you, and He says that you're more than a conqueror, a leader, chosen, elect, called, and given purpose.
As a man whose strength has been grown at the hands of chronic illness, I know firsthand that our strength goes far beyond anything physical. Who we are goes far beyond our bodies. Who we are goes far beyond anything three dimensional or tangible. Friend, who you are is something so unique and individual to you; brimming with purpose, and rich with potential.
And with your purpose clear in mind, I want to challenge you to not let your illness create a label so strong over your life that it brands you with a hindered identity or stifles you with self-doubt.
You are here on this earth at this very moment for something great. You were born and equipped for such a time as this. When we realize that; when we accept that, we begin to walk with a humble confidence. We are able to lead and be led. We are able to achieve our purpose. We are able to walk in every moment of every day with confidence, even if our bodies aren't cooperating.
Be exceptional, and be bold because the very core of who you are as a man is a victor and a champion.
Sam, a fellow man with chronic illness