Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A String of Pearls

Some days you wake up and you just know in your heart that today is going to be a fragile day. A day where things might shatter so easily because they all seem barely held together. I, myself, me... barely are my pearls strung together for the day before I feel tension in the string, and it's entirely possible that the string will snap and today all my pearls will fall to the ground and roll away, much to my distress. Loosen the string, lest it snap. Relax. Breathe deeply. Exhale. Repeat.

On days when fragility seems to overwhelm me I hide away. I am not fit for public consumption. Lest I turn a stomach, upset a mind or cause unhappiness in some way, I choose to be alone. Alone in the knowledge that this way I will hurt no one, this way no one will hurt me; this way the day will pass, and tomorrow will be a fresh start.

Today was a fragile day but I could not hide away. I had to meet people outside of home, I had to talk with strangers, I had to deal with life, full on in the face despite my wanting to be alone. Happily I managed it, but at a cost to myself. I hope I left everyone happy in my wake, but I am not happy. I am exhausted, drained, lifeless. I am also saddened. What saddens me I do not really know, but contact with people exhausted me today, and any surplus I had saved for a rainy day is thoroughly used up. I have nothing left to give, and nothing for myself, and that makes me resentful. I resent being resentful even. :)

Thankfully, tomorrow I do not need to face anyone outside of home/family. Thankfully, tomorrow I can gather my pearls and put them on, one by one in peace, by myself. A string of pearls reflecting who I am, representing my day, possibly even my life. Each pearl a jewel discovered through some struggle, some suffering, some pain. Each pearl precious in itself, and together a combination of many colours and shades, yet each perfectly round. A string of pearls I work on everyday, and on some days I make more progress than other days, yet each day I celebrate them. I remember them. I lovingly remind myself of them and of what they mean to me, and what I am to myself and to others, and I am comforted.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Facing the Future Unforetold

Every now and then the thought comes to all of us...what if my life had been different? We wonder how our lives might be now had we taken a different path, or if events in our lives had happened differently. It's a very normal thing to think about, and isn't really full blown regret...maybe just a tinge of regret with remorse or a sense of sorrow at the past that has led to the present, and uncertainty about the future.

All of this can be magnified many times over for people who live with chronic illness, especially when illness and disability has visited them through no fault of their own. Then it is not so much the road not taken, or a decision made that turned bad or a matter of poor choices, but simply something that happened to them. Out of the blue, disease came upon them. It sneaked up and decided to pounce, and gobbled up a life. But rejoice, people say, that you are alive! Yes, you don't have cancer, be grateful!

And so the chronically ill remind themselves that they have so much to be grateful for, despite all that they have lost. The days, weeks, months, even years, eaten away by locusts, if you like... munched up by pain and trauma, turmoil and tears... pain so visceral and real that only someone else who has walked the same path of suffering can understand. Lost time that can never return. Time spent curled up in agony, hours spent trying to cope and make sense of what is essentially senseless... disease that comes out of nowhere and devours you bit by bit from the inside, leaving you hollowed out. Time that could have been better spent doing things more meaningful, investing in one's happiness, and the happiness of others, loved ones who depend on us, who need us, and yet for whom some days, we cannot be there. We are there physically, but trapped in a world of pain so acute, so sharp, so overwhelming that nothing else can penetrate our thoughts and feelings and we are numb to all around us.

But yes, we have plenty to be grateful for...for life and for love, and if we have these, then truly we are blessed. And so we swallow the pain, we bite back the tears, we pull ourselves up, we face the world, and in so doing we learn to forgive ourselves our shortcomings, our failures, our lack of being there for others, and we try to deal with the guilt. The guilt that damns us as we struggle on each day, the guilt that would pull us back into the quicksand of flooding thoughts that drown out the good in us and tells us we have failed. The guilt, that if left unchallenged would kill our soul and take away that last lingering hope within us, that perhaps something truly good and beautiful can come from our lives.

Yes, we have plenty to be grateful for each and every day. Each day anew. Each day afresh. Each day a chance to start over. Each day to thank God for life and love. To forgive ourselves our imperfect past, and to face the future unforetold... God grant us grace to face each day with Your strength, for we cannot, dare not, will not, contemplate doing it on our own. We would fail. And surely for that gift of grace alone, if not for anything else, I am grateful. Thank you, God. For life, and for love.

Thanks for reading.