We would love to live on a couple of acres and be largely self-sufficient. Maybe that will happen. For now, my heart is for concentrations of people in cities. I actually get excited to meet new people; especially non-Christians. When I am in my element relative strangers say that my smile is infectious. I have been told that I bring out the best in people: ‘Like brings out like.’ I relate well with people in physical, mental or spiritual pain.
I am quiet, serious, peaceful, longsuffering and transparent. I have a history with physical pain and mood disorder. Unfortunately, but as is common, my pain and mood disorder were more evident at home than out of the home. I had congenital lumbar stenosis since I was 16 through to 54. The stenosis was originally at L2-3, L4-5, L4-5. I played football, ran, chopped wood, grubbed trees, stump picked, cut down 45feet trees next to our house, and much more with high levels of pain. I should add that I was not an obvious happy chappy after doing those things. However, during the moment I was in my element.
After contracting a virus I developed Chronic Fatigue. 20 yrs ago that fatigue morphed into a very rare disease called Dercum’s Disease, recognised by those who work with the Disease/Syndrome as the 2nd most painful Disease for which person’s who have it rarely receive recognition that they have a rare disease let alone appropriate treatment. It is not possible to dream up such symptoms and decide to present with them to a doctor. It is simply not possible.
People in chronic pain often become stoical. The stronger the pain the harder they go. Yes, it is counter to intuition. They need to be told to stop and rest. Love themselves. Be kind to themselves. That is easier said than done, especially when there is no clear cause and effect. That is often the case with pain. When in pain, my typical behaviour is to reach out and support others in pain. This is a behaviour I have had to moderate severely.
It takes a special kind of woman to live with me. Christine is that woman. It is not that I am such a horrible person. However, I acknowledge that Christine is special. She copes with me. She puts the best construction on me. She works like a trojan. She is an everyday hero in the true sense of the word.
I am a family man. I enjoy helping in the home and have done my best to be involved in our children’s lives. We have wonderful children. Each of them has very special attributes. We are bound together in love as a family. We are not chaotically enmeshed. Nor are we disengaged from each other. We enjoy each other’s personalities and love family time. We have experienced the extreme violence of mental illness. That is a topic bigger than I can do justice to herein. Mental illness is a fight for life and sanity. Part of our story is told on sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id Severe mental illness, like domestic violence, can produce tension similar to jungle warfare. That association has led me to an interest in PTSD along with mental health in general.
Life is lived in the trenches more than on mountain tops. We go up the mountains to celebrate. We then carry that celebration down into the trenches. I am not saying that life is more suffering than not. I am saying that suffering is the workshop in which the depths of character is moulded. This is one of the few times I use the word ‘should:’ we should never be resigned to suffering. Acceptance is a far cry from resignation. Acceptance is an open door: I have it, I fight it, I pray for healing. I do all that I can to recover my health. I choose health over illness. Prayerfully, I will not lose a minute of peace or hope and give into despair.
My life is not on pause. This website, http://www.michaeluebergang.com is my opportunity for reflection. It is a place within a place that I can go to recreate. This is my space to reflect and share my story in a way that enables me to walk along side others. I will not use my website to withdraw from life, but to engage and resolve it.
My heart is to help people experience fulfilment in God. I hope to help as many people as possible fulfil their God-given purpose. For me that means I use my gifts in their service. One part of that is helping people find their way around the Bible. I have a gift to impart a thirst to get to know the Bible better. I would do this through my teaching, preaching, pastoral care and the relationships I form. Most of this is put on hold while I tackle my health issues. I enjoy helping people discover how much they already know about the Bible; then I help them unpack that knowledge so they can find their way through the books of the Bible. As a result they are able to recall what they already know and remember what I teach them about books of the Bible. I also enjoy helping people to relate Biblical truths and passages to their own lives.