One of the hardest things about being sick is feeling useless. You don’t have to have a chronic illness to understand what I am saying. If you’ve ever had a bad cold, the flu, a broken leg, a surgery, or any other impairment, then you know what it feels like to be unable to do the things that fill your day to day life with purpose.
For some reason, when we are unable to maintain our normal activities, we tend to feel like we are not contributing our fair share to society. If you are one who does the shopping, cooks the meals, cleans the house, earns an income, mows the lawn, etc etc, you can’t help but feel guilty when someone else has to step in and do your job for you. Even for a day.
When you are sick for a day, a week, even a month, you know you will be better soon. You have hope. You have a future on the horizon that allows you to look forward. You can make plans. You can feel like you will be able to “pay back” the people in your life who are filling the gap while you are out of commission.
When you are chronically ill, the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into years and it becomes easy to believe you have no purpose, no value. Perhaps you believe you are a burden. Perhaps you have even come to believe the world would be better off without you.
It is an impossible feeling. And one that is difficult for most people to understand.
It is part of human nature that we should contribute to the world around us. Our bodies are designed to function – our legs are made to move us around and our hands are made to build, to create, to do. It is logical to think that if you can’t do what your body is designed to do, there is no value to your existence.
We need to retrain our minds. Your value, my value, has nothing to do with how much we accomplish phyisically.
We are so much more than physical entities. We are emotional, mental, spiritual beings as well.
And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, ‘then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.
Yes, God designed our bodies to “DO”. But He designed our hearts and our souls to serve as well.
If you are lying in bed (for a day, for a year, for a decade), you are not worthless today. You have the ability to participate in life. It doesn’t have to be about physical accomplishments. You can make someone smile just by smiling yourself. You can make someone laugh by telling a joke. You can encourage someone who is heartbroken by offering words of comfort. You can rejoice in the beauty of the day, in the warmth of the sun or the cool of the rain.
We need to stop comparing ourselves to people who are able to do more physical things and start looking for the things our hearts and souls are able to do.
Life is not about the chores. Life is not about the work. It’s not even about the fun activities others can do that we can’t.
Life is about persons, even if that person is just you.
If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve read these words before: “It’s ok to have a pity party, just don’t unpack and live there”.
Go ahead and cry. Go ahead and throw a fit if you must. Get it out of your system. Then calm down and find something, anything, that gives you joy. It doesn’t have to be a big thing – maybe it’s a song, or a painting, or pet. Hold onto that piece of joy and look for more.
You are so much more than just body. You are heart. You are soul. You are love. You are joy.
Be those things.