Just Jill

That’s how I used to refer to myself, because I didn’t have a middle name. When I was very little, I really wanted a middle name, as if that would give me more identity. Then at some point, that middle name didn’t matter to me anymore. When I got married, I kept my maiden name as my middle name. But long before the expansion of my name, I realized that I was more than JUST JILL.

Every single one of us is divine, with more potential than we could ever imagine.  We have a purpose in this journey of life. Our journey is what shapes us and leads us to our great divinity. We are molded by our experiences, as we learn and grow along this path.  My journey largely consists of dealing with chronic illness alongside all my other life experiences.

When I was younger, we would work together on projects as a family; yard clean-up, splitting and loading wood for the winter, feeding the farm animals, planting and weeding the garden, etc.  Most of these jobs happened at a time when it was either really hot or really cold. Usually during the projects, I didn’t want to be there, and I either complained or looked for an excuse to leave the scene.  During those times when it seemed really hard because it was just too hot or too cold, my parents told me that it was good for me and it was building my character.  Of course I didn’t believe that at the time, and of course as I’ve gotten older I have come to understand and believe what they meant.

So maybe my parents were right. Maybe having to work when the conditions were less than pleasant, and learning to push through and endure and work until the end… maybe those hard times did build my character. And if that’s true, maybe, just maybe, this journey of having a chronic illness and learning to push through, endure and work through each day, is also helping to build my character. I certainly don’t always like the process required to do so, but when I look back on what I’ve learned, I can be grateful for the lessons it is teaching me. I can be grateful for who I am today because of the hard path I had to follow yesterday. I can see myself as more than JUST JILL. And I can be grateful for the hard stuff that’s building my character and shaping me into something better than I could create for myself.