Friday, April 29, 2011

I Don't Want to Forget

I’ve learned some fresh lessons over the past weeks of illness.

I’ve gained a clearer understanding
of how isolating and emotionally debilitating chronic pain is,
and have a new heart-deep empathy for my friends
who deal with invisible pain every day.

My eyes have been opened
to the speed with which sickness or injury
can squeeze a busy, independent, productive, out-going life
into an existence of uncertainty, frailty and fear.

I’ve been jolted alert to the reality
that much of what I usually consider essential-to-my-schedule
is so very, very non-essential.
And I've learned that rest is essential...
as well as wonderful.

I’ve learned that
the presence of God with me is real,
even, or perhaps especially,
when I'm too confused to think anything except,
“Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.”

I’ve realized over and over again
– as my friends and family members "dropped everything" to take care of me
--that those who say they love me,
really truly do.
And that I have friends with whom I can entrust my life.

three weeks since my illness began,
I'm cautiously hopeful that I’m starting to get better.
I believe I am getting better.
I fervently pray,
along with those who've prayed so fervently for me... 
that I'll soon be completely, fully well.

When I'm well once again,
when I'm strong,
when I'm productive,
and when the calendar events press in once again...
I'll celebrate my new gratitude for the simple gift of life.

And when I'm well,
when I'm celebrating life...

I pray I remember the lessons I learned in the darkness.

-- Reenie

Friday, April 15, 2011

Small Things Stack Up

I've been dealing with a significant health challenge lately.
In my recent crises, I've noticed that it's small things that make a big difference...
...the quick ride a friend gave me to Urgent Care
...the quiet voices of medical staff who knew my pain was sound sensitive
...the warmth of heated blankets
...the patience of a friend who wandered around the pharmacy, waiting for my prescription
...the concern of friends and family members who called, texted, emailed...and prayed
...the kindness of a neighbor and a friend who offered to do any errand I asked

Then a few days later....
...the thoughtfulness of my brother who met me before I left in the ambulance, although he couldn't "do" anything (he didn't know that being there for a few minutes was "doing" a lot)
...the persistence of the ER staff who repeatedly checked in on me, giving me medication after medication... after medication
...the patience of my sister-in-law, who sacrificed hours of sleep to watch me vomit, wait while I sat in a doped-out sleep... and then drive me home through a snowstorm
...the text from my young nephew who urged me to get better soon
...and his brother, who brushed the snowstorm off my car

And again...
...the kindness of loved ones who text, call, email
...the tenderness of friends who laugh when I laugh, listen when I cry, and put into words the terror I feel
...the faithfulness of those who pray for me
...the concern of those who take tasks off my shoulders and hoist them onto their own

Most of these (except my sister-in-law's loss of sleep) might be considered "little things".
Most don't require a big change in one's To Do List,
or a rearrangement of the day,
but these little things have made a big difference for me.

I'm so grateful for all these little things that shape my world into a comforting place.
Thank You, God, for filling my world with people who are willing to do these little things for me!

This isn't my poem, but it seems the long-forgotten author understood what I'm saying.
-- Reenie

The Little Things

Oh it's just the little homely things
The unobtrusive, friendly things
The won't -you-let-me-help-you things
That make our pathway light

And it's just the jolly, joking things
The never-mind-the-trouble things
The laugh-with-me-it's-funny things
That make the world seem bright.

For all the countless famous things
The wondrous record-making things
Those never-can-be-equaled things
That all the papers cite.

Aren't like the little human things
The everyday-encountered things
The just-because-I-like-you things
Make us happy quite.

So here's to all the little things
The done-and-then-forgotten thing
Those Oh,-it's-simply-nothing things
That make the life worth the fight.
-- Author unknown