Thursday, May 24, 2012

Invalid vs. the Grateful

In which our Heroine tries to be Happy with her Lot in Life.

Speaking of split worlds, I also live in a place of both discontent and gratitude.  Yes, you can have totally conflicting emotions all at the same time and even for days on end, if you are me.  Lately, I am feeling a confusing combination of invalidation in life and yet gratitude for that life. 

It is not news: one of the best ways to beat hardship and the accompanying anger and depression is with gratitude.   For instance, while I was stewing away in my doctor’s waiting room that horrible Monday, I was dually aware of how blessed I have been in my recovery.  Every time I go, I fill out the medications and physician information sheet.  It consists of fifteen or so lines for medications, and three areas for your other doctors.  I wrote my ridiculously low dosage of ”500 mg 2/day” next to my one-liner “Keppra,” and felt a little better about my lot in life. 

My lack of emotional maturity was next brought to bear against the 20 or so patients who came and went while I sat there—every single one of them looking worse than me.  After all, my scars are all hidden underneath what the world of teen fiction might call a ravishingly thick head of wavy hair.  I do not use a wheelchair, nor do I limp.  My hands are weak, but I can still use them.  I am not grossly overweight, or even cancerously underweight.  My medicine makes me a little crazy sometimes (illogical, irrational, easily irritated), but on the whole I am in control and very happy.  My wonderful husband and daughter were there with me (no babysitter, and by the way I need a chauffeur now)—I was not alone that day, nor have I ever been bereft of support. 

These things are the truths of my life, all laid out in that one waiting room experience.  But more than that, God has given me some truly wonderful tender mercies lately.  First, I have had a lot of opportunities for service in both church and community.  When you have limited time, it is nice to know that you are doing something worthwhile with it.  It is amazing how much energy you can get just from doing something for someone else.  And I can’t help but love it when someone acknowledges that service.  One particularly hard day, I began to feel like I’d made myself physically ill (quite literally) for nothing as I overheard someone else claim credit for something I’d spent hours preparing for—albeit while quietly at home and for weeks in preparation rather than at the actual date of the event.  I turned around and bitterly walked away from the situation.  Not two seconds later, someone interrupted my moping to express gratitude for something else.  Perfect timing—I really needed to hear that right then.  A few days later, I received a surprise thank-you card from a friend for teaching a Relief Society lesson at church—also great timing.  Caring surprise phone calls, cuddling with my child, successful gardening ventures, or my husband bringing home dinner and doing the dishes while he laughs with me about something—I have felt the reaffirmation that my life is full, though I am simultaneously aware that it really only consists of 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of livable time for which I long. 

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