A few weeks ago on Labor Day I realized just how far I’d come to accept the limitations chronic illness has placed on my life in that I was not grieved that I didn’t have a full weekend planed. In fact, I had no plans and ended up staying home alone and reading a book. The most remarkable thing about Labor Day weekend was that I realized I was okay with my quiet weekend at home. Last year I’d been upset that I was no longer able to do the things I’d once traditionally done on Labor Day weekend. I was disappointed and angry. I didn’t even realize how much my outlook had changed until I found myself enjoying that book and then thinking where I’d been last year. I’ve become a woman of no plans and I rather like it.
One thing that living with chronic illness does is slow you down. The rat race falls away and you find that you no longer have the same goals that people who are living the rat race strive to achieve. RA is a disease that makes it impossible to predict how you are going to feel day-to-day so gradually you find yourself not making commitments, not obligating yourself to future dates or plans, or volunteering for events. Each day is unto itself. In a way that is a blessing. I’m finally really living in the moment and enjoying those moments free of the stress of obligation, duty, and what society says I should be doing.
Last week my Sunday School class started a new book and our first lesson was about slowing down and being content at the age you are, at the place in your life you are, and to stop rushing through life to get to the next step, the next date, the next achievement. I hope those women never have to face a disease that forces you into living in the moment, but that instead they can be blessed by lessons and examples of others so they can learn cherish the moments without it being forced upon them. Shortly after reading that lesson, I saw a quote on my FB wall from a ministry that said: Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life. This unknown quotation went perfectly with that Sunday School lesson.
This week my Granny, my only surviving grandparent, took two hard falls at the nursing home and was admitted to the hospital with some life threatening complications. Her will to live is gone. She has been returned to the Nursing Home, but still her health wanes because she is tired. She said, “I can’t see my future. I know my time has come.” and I do believe that she is convinced of that. Her eyes tell the story of how tired she is and that she is just living moment to moment. She has lead a long life of 86 years. She struggles to understand her purpose in still being here, but accepts God has a reason. She soaks up love like a sponge and returns it freely. As I sat by her bedside today watching over her as she slept, I realized I’d lived some beautiful moments with her today that I would cherish for the rest of my life.
God tell us not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has it’s own day. It took several incurable diseases to slow me down so I live in the moment. I find it’s the moments that make life worth living.