Sunday, March 18, 2012
Does Illness Make You Wiser?
Does suffering make you wise, or just cranky? Does illness teach you to be more compassionate, or impatient?
I'd like to believe that one of the lessons my pain gave me is to appreciate the small things that are exquisite and to let the big things that are really small just flow over me, like a passing shadow.
And I'd especially like to believe that the love and care Richard showed me as he helped me every day is a gift I treasure and return every day.
The truth is a bit of everything, as it often is.
I am wiser for having suffered. I learned about what was hidden in the inner recesses, and I learned not to be afraid of that or of anything, except more pain. I learned to accept unconditional love and unselfish caretaking -- a harder task than I imagined it would be. And, most days, I do remember that nothing is life or death, except, well, life or death.
But I do sweat the small stuff. The neighbor's car parked too close to the driveway. The colleague who oversteps his bounds and acts like a jerk while thinking he is being magnanimous. Even the remote control that's out of synch with the TV and will change the channel or adjust the volume, but not do both.
And I get cranky and impatient with Richard when he steps around the bin of recycles instead of taking it out to the curb. Or when he reads a piece of my writing and corrects the grammar instead of telling me how elegant the concepts are. I do love and appreciate him even day - just not to the exclusion of getting annoyed at the small stuff.
I wish I were wiser and more compassionate. I keep trying. I guess illness gave me potential, and the rest is up to me now.
What have you learned from your illness?