This post is part of the ME Awareness Week Synchroblog, hosted today at http://hiddencourage.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/counting-our-blessings-me-synchroblog/ with the topic “The Positive Side”. To join in, head over and post a link or comment, or tweet with the hashtag #MEAW13
I really love these song lyrics, they sum up pretty well my thoughts on bad experiences:
“I won’t regret
Cause you can grow flowers
From where dirt used to be”
Merry Happy (Kate Nash)
Chronic illness sucks; ME is its own special form of suckyness – but it’s in the midst of the dirt that the flowers grow.
I feel like the most positive thing that came from illness (and there are surprisingly a lot, too many for a single post) was the product of endless time to reflect. I think it changed me a lot, and I hope those changes were all positive. I learned a lot about how to live and prioritise, things which I still find difficult to apply but which I hope I never forget. Here are just a handful of those lessons:
- I learned that telling the truth about suffering breaks down barriers, and that sharing stories opens people up in a way which bare facts don’t.
- I learned about the important things in life: that they aren’t found in meeting deadlines or endless activity. There is value in just living, value which isn’t measured by your grades or your paycheck. Whether you’re an overachiever or utterly dependent on others to survive, life can be worth it.
- I learned about enjoying myself. There’s plenty of goodness in small things, and it’s worthy of attention. Life is already full of beauty and peace, and appreciating that brings a sense of fulfilment.
- I learned about taking care of myself – I need to rest, eat healthily, have time to myself to reflect as well as my need for socialising. I need to pray and spend time with God, or I go off track. I need to pursue the character I value, not grow aimlessly.
- I learned that I should put my time into what I value, not squeeze it out to the corners of my existence. I will never have enough time or energy for everything, so I need to work out what is important to me and focus on that.
Of course I forget them, so maybe the lessons aren’t fully there yet – but I’m on my way. And since I got so much better, I’ve been learning a lot more… mostly about how little I have it together!
I look back though at those dark times, and realise how much light there was in there, all those flowers growing in the midst of the dirt. Like Abigail, I think if I was offered chronic illness I would run for the hills – but I certainly won’t turn a blind eye to the good things that came of it, however small.