All I know is that I've been sick. I was so sick this fall that I was barely functioning, barely capable of giving my children the very basics of nurturing, and entirely unable to work or give attention to anything that wasn't immediately in my face begging for it. Of course I've tried to put on a brave face, but for a person who has never been ill for longer than a cold lasts, I can tell you I was a little scared, and a lot frustrated, with my inability to just DO things. The smallest things—the things you never think of as being hard—became these huge obstacles.
Living in the very basic sense of living has been difficult for me, but it's been an interesting time. It's taught me a lot about what life is and what's important. It's been a HUGE reminder that having your health is truly a gift, one we often forget to treasure.
As January rolled around, I finally started to feel like a human being again. I could, like, stand without the urge to vomit, which was awesome, and I started to get back some energy. I could finally get out of bed and DO things. I could play with my kids instead of just being in the house with them. I could interact with my husband past, "How was your day? Okay, I'm going back to bed now." I could cook and clean and think clearly. I could finally write and edit again.
And all those things? Suddenly I saw the joy in them that much more. Being unable to do anything but survive for four months, now even the mundane parts of my life seem great to me. It's funny, how the hard times put stuff in perspective like that.
I'm just grateful for everything right now, even this stupid cold I have because at least I know it won't last four months.
I mean, I hate going through crap as much as the next person, but there's no denying that it has some kind of role to play in our lives. Yeah, it sucks that it took me five years to sell a book, and it'll be a whopping seven before I see it published. But at the same time I have to acknowledge that I don't think I'd appreciate or value my accomplishment as much if it weren't so difficult to attain. Being so utterly sick this fall reminded me just how great my life is, even the "boring" parts. It's like, the more pain you experience, the more capacity you have to experience and treasure happiness.
It's not an easy thing to accept, I suppose, especially when you're really going through crap. I've lost hope. There've been days when I just wanted to be done. But I've found that gratitude has an amazing power to get us through the rough patches. Not that it makes stuff go away, but it always improves my attitude (I have lots of attitude problems.). I know it can be hard sometimes, but being positive and having hope makes the road easier. It might not always feel like that. It might feel like hope is the enemy, but as someone who almost lost all hope a couple years back, I promise you hope is a good, good thing. Life never gets easier, I don't think, but our capacity for joy increases when we let the opposition improve us rather than embitter us.
I don't really know how to finish this. As I've been sick again this week, I've just been thinking a lot about this stuff, about the times I beat opposition and the times I let it beat me. So yeah, rambling.