I was jealous. Green with envy. Resentful of the attention my sister received, and how could I not be, we are identical twins. I don’t think that being jealous was really the problem, but the reason I was jealous. That was the problem. I’m sure of it.
At the age of two my identical twin, Melissa, was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. After that my parents would always pay extra attention to what she ate to make sure she never got an ulcer because of her strong medicine. Every few months she would get to miss a whole day of school and spend time with our parents at a doctor’s appointment, while I went to school and later sat at home with a baby sitter. I was so jealous of the attention she received I never once thought of how insensitive I was to what she was going through.
I should have been there to support her and help her, but I was too selfish to even consider that.
When I was ten I was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. That half-hour doctor’s appointment in the room with clowns peering down from the walls changed everything about me.
Yes, it made me a stronger person, how could it not? But it also changed my relationship with my sister and it made me realize there is a reason for everything.
At first I was not sure how I felt, it was a lot to take in, but then I figured how much more attention I would receive and it made me more positive about my situation. After a month with arthritis though, I felt so sick with guilt for my terrible thoughts. “How could I be jealous of something that made her life, and mine, so miserable?” I wondered. It allowed me to be more aware of other people’s feelings. I can only be thankful.
As for my relationship with my sister, that changed incredibly. I had someone to talk to who understood what was happening, and for the first time, so did my sister. We are so much closer now because of this unfortunate turn of events.
God has a plan for everyone. Maybe He realized that I needed to have a closer relationship with my sister and that the immaturity clouding my thinking, was not acceptable. I think He gave me arthritis because I needed a dose of reality, karma some may call it, because I had been omitting some very bad karma for quite a while.
I don’t think that God intended to throw arthritis into my life as a, “Ha, look who’s jealous now,” thing. I believe that sometimes, God knows what we need better than what we think we need, and I believe that my experience shows exactly that. How sometimes it takes a one-hundred and eighty degree transformation to realize how wrong our principles are, is really what we need, and what we deserve. And I believe my sister and I can get through this together.
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