It’s Sunday evening, the house is tidied and floors are swept, supper is ready (thanks husband!), and the kids are silently reading and playing.
I was sitting here staring off into space and marveling at the peace I’m feeling. Not just the silence and absence of screaming, jumping children but the deep inner peace I’m feeling in this moment. It occured to me that it has been months, definitely over a year (maybe two!), since I have felt this kind of peace. It makes me wonder what is it about right now that elicits this feeling? I ran through a few things in my mind and quickly realized what it’s NOT:
* Lack of pain – in fact, I’m currently in a significant amount of pain and waiting for my evening doses of pain killers to kick in.
* Completion of a “to-do” list – it’s my opinion that a to-do list is never actually completed. It’s only ever partially done because once you complete a task another one pops up. Trying to eliminate a to-do list is a futile activity.
Truthfully, I’m not totally sure if it’s an inner feeling that’s caused such a feeling of peace or if it’s physical circumstances. I think it’s most likely a combination of a few things and when I think about why it’s been so long since I felt this way I realized that it’s most likely been since before my body started deteriorating that I truly felt this sense of peace and satisfaction. There used to be two points in my day that brought about this feeling – early mornings when I would make sure to have some solo-time before the house woke up and afternoons during our quiet time when I’d make sure that I sat down to relax. Both of those circumstances have all but disappeared since my body began rapidly deteriorating. These days have been less about finding those moments of peace and more about surviving the days.
I’ve been living my days desperately trying to maintain some semblance of normality – which has meant using every ounce of energy at keeping the house tidy, the laundry done, the kids fed and schooled, and trying to fit in social experiences. It’s been utterly exhausting and so the times I used to prioritize for peace and sanity began the times I could sleep a little more. On top of maintaining normalcy my body has been fighting and losing and that also is exhausting. To sum up: chronic illness is exhausting.
I have spent the last year and a bit adjusting my mentality and grieving what once was. Throughout all of this I have been at peace with what was happening – more of a “c’est la vie” mentality but I’ve still been tremendously sad for the things that have been lost. It wasn’t until about 20 months into this journey that I let go of the idea of returning to what was and began to accept that life was going to be vastly different. The more I accept this as life the more opportunity I will have to set everything aside and experience this peace. I also think there are practical things that I could try to implement again. Things like showering and getting dressed earlier in my day and eating a more nourishing diet.
I don’t have many answers, I wanted to write this because I wanted to have a reminder of this feeling but I also wanted to process and explore it. Here’s what I do know – I know that I want this feeling back as a regular occurance and I know that I’m ready to make some changes so I can switch from survival mode to thriving mode. It might seem counterintuitive to say that I want to thrive even while experience progressive chronic illnesses. I’ve come to understand that thriving is not the same for anyone and changes in every circumstance. My personal circumstances are different than yours, yet we can still thrive in the midst of our own experiences and in fact I think we should all be striving for that.
I think I just found my 2021 WORD
What about you?