Monday, April 2, 2012

Successfulness versus Fruitfulness

Today is day 2 of the WEGO Health ~ The Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge 2012. I will be writing a post everyday this month and each will in some way focus on what life is like with fibromyalgia (as well as other health issues including migraines, hypothyroidism, and polycystic ovarian syndrome).

There is a great difference between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique. A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another’s wounds. Let’s remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness. ~ Henri Nouwen

I don't even recall how I came upon this quote. I've read lots of Nouwen's writings over the last few years. Maybe I came upon it in one of his books. Or maybe it was on someone's blog. Who knows for sure? And don't ask me to remember because the fibrofog makes that next to impossible.

I do know that when I read this quote, I had to reread it over and over, to soak it in, to let it breathe in me, to feel the emotions, to understand.

And as I read it now, this twelve zillionth time through, the tears well up just like the first time.

For who I am and what I am becoming is found in this weakness and vulnerability.

In telling you my story,

in letting the pain that seizes my entire body and brings me to my knees flow out through my hands,

in remembering and making meaning of my precious babes who never saw a moment of life outside my womb,

in journeying alongside my fellow spoonies, my fellow fighters of these horrific diseases, these diseases that no one should have to live with,

but live we are and we will continue to do.

These diseases do not define who we are, but rather help form who we chose to be.

Will we simply lie back and allow these diseases to stomp upon us or will we fight?

Will we awaken each morning determined to put these broken pieces into a beautiful mosaic of who we are becoming?

Yes, we will!

Because my goal in life is not success, but rather to bloom and grow and feel the rain upon my skin and reach for the sun and to live this new normal. Because that is where we find the true joy, in the fruit that comes from the weakness and the vulnerability and in being who we were created to be.


  1. "These diseases do not define who we are, but rather help form who we chose to be."

    Wow. Just wow....


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