Illness: The Best


If I had a nickel for all the things I do every day for other people, I'd be incredibly rich.  Monetarily, anyway.

Each of us lives in our own world of work, chores, play, and to-do lists.  And just when the cogs begin turning at a good pace, when the structure of your world is on the border of a boring routine, you are snapped to attention.

Illness strikes at the most inopportune times.  Or so it seems.

It brings those cogs, turning at their rhythmic pace, to a grinding halt.  Which is why I, for one, tend to nearly lose my mind when this happens!

Look for the Blessing

I'm a terrible patient!  I cannot stand to be sick. 

So I know when I catch the latest bug making its rounds, there's a reason for it.  And I'm guessing this is true for many of us.

We spend a lot of time seeing to the needs of others.  It's logical that the only time we'll take care of ourselves is when we have to.

I, just this morning, decided to view the cold I have as an act of mercy.  As I write this, it's holiday season, and I've been busy making lists of all the holiday and end-of-year tasks that must be completed immediately.  For me, this time of year has more of a sense of urgency than the rest of the year.

But on some level, something or some part of me knows that I need a little self-love.  I need to slow down, be more attentive, and more contemplative.  This is the blessing of the cold I have.  Slowing down will not only keep it from getting worse, it will help me look inward, and feel the love and care I have for me.

Lessons of Illness

I believe there is not only a blessing, but a lesson in everything that touches us.  This is never truer than when dealing with illness.

  • You learn to ask for help.  This is a big one for me - and likely for you, too.  Asking for help slows down your progress, can take too much time, and can hurt your pride.  But when you finally give in and ask, you learn how kind and compassionate other people can be.  And you learn how to receive.
  • You learn how strong you are.  Your body is more resilient than you think.  You can heal.  You can grow.  You can get through it and come out a changed - and even stronger - person than you were before.
  • You learn you can be a blessing.  When my dad got cancer and had to travel to receive treatment, he and my mother stayed in a lodge for cancer patients.  They realized that in the midst of concern, fear, prayers, and hope that we all surrounded Dad with, they could offer encouragement, a smile, a prayer, and a hand to other patients they were spending time with every day.

Compassion is probably the biggest lesson that comes from illness.  It teaches you to help someone before they ask for it.  It teaches you to have faith in your strength and listen to your body.  It reminds you that you are never alone, and you always have something to give.

But the only way you can continue giving to others, is when you first take care of yourself.  A little self-love will go a long way!