I could do better.
I am late, oh so very late.
My self narrative doesn’t include the effects of my chronic illness. The disease drains me of energy as a gigantic whirlpool in the middle of my self narrative. The whirlpool sucks. It sucks my energy, and drains my self-image of all color, leaving me with a raft of tasks that I had desired to do with me at the bottom of the ocean looking upwards.
I’ll go to bed with the goal of waking up the next morning and to write more on my next book. But when I wake up the reality of my day floods in, and down the drain goes my energy, and ability to think clearly.
If you look at my last four paragraphs you’ll notice that each one begins with a self oriented pronoun: “I,” “My,” and “I’ll.” I’m furious that the disease drags me down the drain into a self oriented nether world. My heart wants to help others through sharing who I am and listening deeply to the hearts of others.
The dis-ease is tremendously strong and frequently overpowers my will. The illness doesn’t care about my goals or desires, but I do.
When reading this over, I hear the depression that is with me today. Today the depression is hard to overcome. But with the pain and the difficulty breathing my body just wants to curl up in a fetal ball somewhere close to a fireplace. The warmth would be nice, but succumbing to the illness makes things worse.
Which brings up the point that I’ve only recently understood: there’s a big difference between taking care of my body and succumbing to the illness.
When I take care of my body, I feel better afterwards. However when I succumb to the illness, I feel worse afterwards. This morning I knew that laying in bed would be succumbing to the illness because of three indicators:
- The present – staying in bed was a powerful driving force, but had no joy to it
- The future – when I looked at the future I didn’t feel like I would have more energy and joy when I did finally get out of bed
- The past – the pain and breathing difficulties were similar to what I had before and been able to do things to contribute to the world without damaging my health.
I’ve been disabled by the disease, to one extent or another, since August 1985. That’s a long, long time. If I had succumbed to the disease, consistently allowing it to control my life, I’d either be a basket case or dead.
One of the pieces of wisdom I have garnered over the years is that the path of joy adds to the world and brings me closer to God.
[Most of the readers of this blog will understand the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is fleeting and can sometimes have a hard edge. Happiness adds little to the world except that it’s better than sadness (sometimes). And happiness is fleeting, needing to be refreshed again and again, day after day. Joy is like a drop of water on a sponge, where the soul absorbs the nutrition and grows softer in its interaction with others. Alternatively, happiness is like a drop of water on a rock, sliding off the stone needing constantly to be refreshed.]
Writing today has lifted my spirits and warmed my heart. May your day be joy filled, and your path bring you ever closer to the person you want to be.