"How beautiful it is when together, with arms linked, we rise."

This is Where Hope and Reality Coexist

Awhile ago I designed this shirt and it sat in my files. It sat because I was unsure of what it really meant to me.

Why were these words the ones that settled into my heart? I feel like I’m doing anything but rising above. I sit on the couch the majority of my days. And if I’m lucky I’ll sit on my porch for a few minutes.

I spend my time detoxing, treating, resting, treating, resting, detoxing, Netflixing, and treating again. I load the dishwasher as my biggest task many days.

I cry tears. Lots of them. I ask questions I don’t have answers to, feel deeply and ache hard.

But ‘rising above’?

I more often feel like I’m barely hovering below (whatever that means…let’s just go with it). I think of how slow my days are. How deeply I feel the weight of this intense struggle with Lyme. And I don’t view myself as exceptionally positive or optimistic. In fact, lately I’ve described my feelings as “meh”.

Yet these words kept coming back: Rising Above Lyme.  For weeks I wrestled with them until their truth sank in deep.

These words echoed in my heart for weeks before I officially released the t-shirt design. When the truth of the words "rising above" fully sank in, it wasn't at all what I expected.

‘Rising above’ doesn’t mean we disconnect from our reality. It doesn’t mean we cover up the scars, deflect, or pretend the hard isn’t there. That the trauma, the memories, the fear or the pain doesn’t exist.

Rising above can simply say: I will breathe in this moment of laughter, however rare it is.

I will appreciate and give back to the new friendships I’ve found in the midst of this sick life. I’ll choose to be real and honest, even when it’s hard.

Rising above can happen from our couches, our sick beds, our pile of tears tangled up with the layers of illness.

Because this is not the “positivity train”. This is where reality and hope coexist in even the smallest of moments. 

We rise when wrapping arms around another who needs someone to hope FOR them, WITH them.

We rise in the moments we advocate for the voiceless, the oppressed, the marginalized.

We rise when we listen to our body’s need for rest, for nutrients, for treatment.

We rise when we open our eyes to see someone that’s different than us with kind, compassionate eyes.

And how beautiful it is when together, with arms linked, we rise.

Rising Above Lyme: The story behind these words that have settled deep within my soul.

I designed this shirt to promote Lyme disease awareness as well as another to offer a universal “Rising Above” design that can be worn by anyone. You can see all of my designs and grab your very own here!

This post contains affiliate links. 

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10 comments

  1. Judy McGowen says:

    Kami, although I haven’t been diagnosed with Lyme Disease I feel your pain. I live day in and day out in debilitating pain. I feel such a strong connection with you even though our diagnosis are different. You are truly a inspiration!
    We “Rise Above” together!
    God Bless…..
    Judy

  2. Fern says:

    Beautiful! My pracer has been and will continue to be, that God would use my Lyme Disease and multiple complications to bring glory to HIM. And that happens best as I rise above and am OK with where I’m at today! Thanks!

  3. Ann says:

    Kami, I think we all needed to read this this week. My rheumy said last week he’d never seen so many of his patients flaring at once & he’s 70! Whether it’s lupus, which I have, lyme, or RA, we’re all in the same boat! Thanks for this post that helps a lot.

    • Kami says:

      Hi Ann. Oh wow. What your rheumy said! I know it’s been a heavy spell for a lot of chronically ill friends and there’s comfort in remembering we aren’t alone. Thanks so much for reading. Sending hugs your way!

  4. I really loved reading this post! I especially appreciate the difference you pointed out between the ‘positivity train’ and hopefulness grounded in reality. I often feel like there are two polar views on living with chronic illness: ‘find your bliss and you will recover’ (as if you could be blissful all the time) and ‘life is a long dark tunnel with no light at the end’ (also untrue). We can find hope and gratitude for the small moments of enjoyment in our lives, the connections we make, and the lessons we’ve learned but still be real about the challenges we face. Thanks for the read 🙂

    • Kami says:

      Yes, I loved everything you said here Katarina. I’ve found far more comfort and peace living in the balance of tangible hope and being real. I often have to bring myself back to that space, but when I do it’s worth it. Thanks so much for reading and leaving your thoughts!

  5. Valerie says:

    Dear Kami,
    Your writing is so poignant and lovely. I can truly understand what you mean. I cry a lot and I forget sometimes that this doesn’t have to be the “positivity train.” I have so many responsibilities when really all I feel like doing is going to bed for the day. I’ve been feeling pretty “meh” myself. Everything you write just captures my heart. That shirt is on my Christmas list, I cannot wait to get one. You rise above so beautifully it is an inspiration to me. xo
    Blessings sweet friend,
    Valerie

    • Kami says:

      I feel you, Valerie. Thanks for sharing you get it too. I hope you enjoy your shirt whenever you get one 🙂 (there are two shirt types linked here – one more snug fit and the other a bit looser. I am wearing the snugger fit option, just a size up)
      Love to you Valerie! Thank you for reading.

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