I’ve finally gotten around to reading The Lost City of Z, several years after it was so highly acclaimed. I’m like one of those college students who goes to their cousin’s Senior Prom.
I’ve been very much incredibly down lately about the limitations of my illness and how much of a waste of a person it makes me. How it must mean I’m lazy and ineffectual.
Then I got to this paragraph in Lost City and felt like God was telegraphing me a little cheer-up message. Because the book is about the ‘golden age of exploration’ when people of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries set out to conquer the uncharted parts of the globe. That meant either trekking to the frozen barrenlands of the poles or enfolding oneself in the Green Hell of Amazonia. These people were of amazing constitution and did amazing things that would fell all but the bravest and most tenacious of souls. And one of these explorers left explicit instructions to his friends that they were to shoot him dead if he ever became chronically ill or was suffering from unremitting long-term pain.
That’s right. This man who was brave enough to tame the Amazon couldn’t summon the courage to deal with illness. To him, and to many others, chronic illness is the darkest jungle. I started to realise that God was showing me that this path I’ve been given requires a unique sort of bravery. Weakness of body does NOT mean weakness of mind or heart or spirit.
I don’t say this to imply that I’m better than others. I only say it to show that from this long-dead world traveller I am inferring that I am in no way worse.