This is something I have been struggling with for months. I’ve been swinging between depressive episodes and mixed episodes for the last three months. Working with my care professionals, there’s some changes going on in my treatment and they seem to be leading to greater stability and health. I really should have said something sooner. (If you are struggling with illness or malaise of any sort, seek out help. It really isn’t necessary to struggle when there is help available for most any manner of illness. I was a fool to wait this long.)
Among the questions troubling me was what was the place of chronic illness, more specifically mental illness, within the faith system of Filianism and Déanism. This question nagged at me even as the medication change lifted the other persistent questions of self-worth from my awareness. If we consider the matter from one perspective, chronic illness is a manifestation of the fragility of all things due to khear. There are many who consider khear synonymous with sin and argue that we who suffer with chronic illness are somehow more flawed than those who do not have such an affliction. I would be so bold as to contend that this argument is grievously flawed and uncompassionate.
A much more reasonable argument is that chronic illness is part of the conditions of living within this world. Life includes suffering for many reasons, most of them hard to define. As beings that are incarnate, we suffer the afflictions that come attendant upon existing in this world. Each form of misfortune that befalls us, be it the failure of our health or our fortunes, is a part of this world being flawed. It is fixed wyrd that causes chronic illness by way of events we can not influence.
I would not dare to say that these events are karmic payment for past life errors. This would be as bad as saying that those who suffer chronic illness are more filled with khear than others and this is an outward manifestation of it. Cruelty does not begin to describe this position. It must be rejected for the same reasons as the other. Thus we cycle back to the question of what is the role of fixed wyrd.
Fixed wyrd, as best I can tell, are life circumstances that are in place to shape a person into what they are supposed to be according to the larger scheme of life. They are crucial events that we are unable to avoid no matter what other choices we make in our lifetime prior to or after these events. Some elements of fixed wyrd may be pleasant. Others are less so. Generally, however, they are morally neutral and simply an event of consequence. The key to this statement is the phrase ‘morally neutral’. They are neither morally good nor morally evil. They are events that simply happen, however tragic they may be.
As best I can figure it, the place of chronic illness in Filianism and Déanism is the afflicted are people who require compassion and care as certainly as anyone else. The afflicted are people who have as much capacity to embody good as anyone else. And, the afflicted are people who are at times in closer tune with the suffering of Our Lady. They can not escape their conditions and struggle mightily to live within the constraints placed upon them. As such, perhaps they who struggle with chronic illness might have a hope of beginning to understand the sorrows of Our Lady.
For, when Our Lady entered into this world, we do not know if she came into it hale and filled with vigor or if she was carrying the burden of some manner of chronic condition that made her frail despite the power within her. The holy teachings tell us that she is with us at all times even as she reigns in Avala. It is possible that among they who suffer from chronic illness, there is a masked presence of Our Lady moving through the world to see how all fares.
I, however, am a madwoman who lives a life that is somewhat isolated and stranger than others. Perhaps another with deeper knowledge may illuminate this with their wisdom. This is simply my attempt to understand my place in things and the place of others like myself. I stubbornly refuse to accept the argument that we are fundamentally the embodiment of how far we have fallen from perfection. I stubbornly refuse to accept the argument that we are to be shunned for such reasons. Far too many people live in suffering from chronic illness and things that they can not change for me to accept the implied argument that we have embrace khear and this is an outward manifestation of it.