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?


JMM said...

I have learned to not be so black and white. While there may be something that helps me (and other pain sufferers/people who have frustrating illnesses) in the future, I am not expecting to be completely cured -- and I am learning to foster the patience and acceptance required for that to be okay.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

I learned to accept help.

I struggle to learn to ask for help.

Scott said...

I have lived with chronic debilitating pain for nearly eighteen years now. I was struck head on by a drunk driver at a speed of 50m.p.h. plus. Though I was wearing a seatbelt, my back was broken, 9 surgeries later still left me permanently disabled. My good wife for 20 years has filed for divorce citing she just has had enough, "irreconcilable differences".
The problem with chronic illness is in marriage you become unequally yoked to carry equal burdens as marriage should be in general. It takes a person of unparalled love to be able to take care of the stricken partner. When this happens early in life, in a marriage, alot of the times the non stricken partner just isn't strong enough. Statistically, I believe the longer a marriage has been before chronic illness strikes, its less likely divorce will happen. All I can say is sometimes its a blessing, a divorce. For me, alot of pressure has been released, and my ex wife is happier living alone. Finally, I have sought refuge in Prayer to my Father in Heaven. Praying and reading scripture has brought alot of peace to my life. I would recommend it the peace and tranquility is wonderful.