I’m so ready to wallow in my discomfort and fatigue and my disappointment at not feeling well.
Look at how hard it is for me right now.
I have an eight year old who chooses this option on a regular basis. He comes home from school, happy as can be, telling me about the fun things he did during the day. Fifteen minutes later, he asks what’s for dinner, and when I tell him, he shouts and stomps his feet and tells me that it’s the worst day ever because we will be having one of his not-so-favorite meals. And then he’ll grump around for anywhere from ten minutes to three hours, depending on how long it takes him to forget that he is grumpy.
Part of me wants to stomp my feet and be grumpy about having a nasty cold with bad timing.
Another part of me knows that choosing that grumpiness will only serve to make me suffer more at the hands of my coughing and wheezing. If I choose grumpiness, I’ll notice how dirty the house is and grumble some more. If I choose grumpiness, I’ll show up for homework time short-tempered and unhelpful. If I choose grumpiness, I’ll end up numbing out by scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed multiple times during the day. If I choose grumpiness, I'll end up going back to bed and feeling guilty about it.
In short, choosing grumpiness will only serve to prolong my grumpiness and dis-ease.
So, what else might I choose?
Starting small, I can find my way to a little bit of Acceptance – everyone gets a cold now and then, and there’s never a good time for it.
From there, I begin to notice Compassion – it’s hard being sick when I want to spend some quality time with family and mourn the loss of a beloved uncle. It’s okay if I’m not up to staying for the whole wake or funeral luncheon. It’s okay to lie down for a short nap, even when dinner is waiting to be made.
And from here, it is easy to access Gratitude – I’m thankful that my husband will start making dinner while I go lie down. I am grateful for a friend who not only filled in for me at church (I was supposed to help lead the service with the minister), but stopped by afterwards with the flowers from the chancel to say, “I hope you feel better, and I’m sorry for your loss.”
Coming full circle, I find myself back at Acceptance – this time it’s overflowing - it’s okay to feel lousy. It’s okay to go back to bed for a little while. It’s okay to cancel a couple of commitments. It’s okay to wish it were different.
Woven throughout all of these stages of awareness – Acceptance – Compassion – Gratitude – Acceptance is a growing awareness of LOVE. I am aware that love makes all of this possible; it is the nexus from which these other qualities can emerge. I remember the reading my mother did at the funeral yesterday from I Corinthians (“…and the greatest of these is Love.”). It was Love that brought us together to celebrate the memory of my uncle. And it was beautiful.
I can’t help but wonder, if it is also the point from which healing can emerge, for I’m feeling a little better already. Perhaps not physically well, but I feel ready to face what the day brings, coughing and all.
And I suspect the day might bring a little time spent in bed with my book. And I won't be feeling guilty about it.
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