For those of us who suffer chronic illness or pain, there are fewer words spoken which bring more dread to an aching heart than, “Well, it’s just going to take time.”
Oh, that dreaded, ugly phrase has taught me far more patience than I ever sought to have, at least in this lifetime. Unfortunately, most healing of any category, does take time. That doesn’t mean we like it, understand it or even tolerate it, but that it just is. Like a wall of water to a drowning man, it has to be endured, floundered through and endured. I have yet to find any individual who could speed healing and believe me, I have searched. Therefore you and I had better learn to swim.
Of course, that is why we take antibiotics, vitamin supplements and many other forms of medication, in order to speed the healing process but cells have to be laid down, new skin, bone and sinew built and it will not be rushed. The body must do what it does and that is to seek a point of wellness and it will do it in its own time and way.
Even in my advanced years I find myself chafing against this particular scientific fact and often wonder how much patience I have actually achieved. Sometimes I think I have simply grown tired of pulling against the bonds of time that are often binding me to some particular illness, injury or surgery. It takes so much energy to flail around, sputtering impatient words, gestures and attitudes to say little of what it does to those who have to live with me while I’m experiencing whatever the current mishap may be. It’s ugly. It is non-life giving and it does little good. The only virtue I can see in that entire machination is the fact it does allow you and I to blow off a bit of steam which actually can be a good thing; as long as it isn’t overdone. We just need to bear in mind that steam, although a fine medium for cooking vegetables, is not a good source of growth for living things.
There have been times, quite recently, when I have had to “express” myself to a loving God who I pray will understand that I am not always polite. If He doesn’t understand then certainly, no one will. I often have to rail against life and it’s cruelties to me as I struggle to recover from the most recent catastrophe in my life. My ranting is honest, it’s real and it comes from the heart. I often feel reassurance after such a dialog and go back to working on patience.
I find that I have often wasted a lot of perfectly good energy and time by ranting about a situation that is only healed and cured through time. To let go and give in to the needs time requires is much the wiser way to go. Too often we leave ourselves too much space and time to complain when we would be better served by picking up a tool, a needle, a book or a TV guide; however, we are mere mortals. Time does indeed have different speeds as anyone can contest to who has waited as a child waits for Christmas each year, as a watched pot waits to boil or as an individual running late for work waits for a garment to come out of the dryer. Some humans think it’s all the same, this time continuum, but I am convinced it has different speeds. What do those darn clocks know?
Letting off that steam we spoke of earlier is one way to use the time but often it goes too far and becomes a way of life. I have found when the frown lines begin to show on my face, it is then time to draw it in and settle down. When our impatience spills all over our family or friends like an indigestible meal, it is also time to think of them and not our own set of problems. Self-centeredness is one of the pitfalls of the time/patience theory and must be avoided like a pit full of snakes. Self-pity is one of those slippery slopes that comes much too easily and serves little purpose. All of the problems we are facing take on a more complicated glaze and everything becomes more difficult. Happier days flee by more quickly than miserable ones. How do we find happiness when we’re suffering a particularly bad time?
This whole lesson of patience has been a most difficult problem for me. Oh yea of little patience? That would be me holding up my hand. One of the solutions, at least for me is to look for those angels which appear to us. Angels come in all sizes, forms of life and shapes. Surely they can be ethereal but often they are two and four footed. A tiny, happy dog with a tale whose action can match that of a hummingbird surely brings a smile to all of our lips. A friend relaying a funny tale or mishap which has been survived can be uplifting. Sometimes there is a simple, quiet assurance that you and I are loved by others by an act of kindness shown toward us.
I have certain objects here in my bedroom which bring me joy. There are many which are pictures of loved ones, grandchildren, my daughter as a bride, my son as a groom, an adorable drawing that was a gift. Others are tiny objects given or received for fun and laughs. I realize I am fortunate to live amidst so much that brings significance to my life. The best part of fun and beautiful objects are the memories that accompany each and lead to reliving of experiences of life. I must confess all of the things I love are a bit more dusty than usual, the floor has bits of tissue where our tiny dog, George, has torn up a Kleenex before I could stop him and it’s definitely time to bring out my Roomba and set it lose. I can’t lift it but I can push its “on” button with a toe. Perhaps the rose colored carpet will resemble its original color by the end of the day today. As for the dust, well, perhaps I should look into growing radishes on surfaces but then again…
Martyrdom is a bit like self-pity but also to be avoided. It’s difficult for me to see something that needs doing and not do it. I am definitely the obnoxiously independent type but am forced to behave myself right now. I can’t expect my dear husband to work all day and then do more than he is already doing. He’s been shopping, doing the laundry and doing a bit of cooking. I have a difficult time asking for help from others and if they hesitate after I’ve asked, well, forget it. I guess I’m proud and am proud of being so. I think pride can often keep an individual going when all else has slowed down.
I have found I must have laughter in my life. Georgie provides a great deal of that as does my husband and his job. Although I must admit those middle of the night phone calls from the jail where Jim is a nurse are not always humorous, but they can be. I have to read of joyous and victorious events. I love to read of others who have triumphed because it gives me hope. It’s simple. It is a reminder to me that I am not alone, I am not forgotten and I surely can, will and should survive this latest crisis. 24 hour news is such a bad idea I often have to limit it. Once you’ve heard of a tragic event, you don’t need to hear about it hourly. None of us need to.
I confess I am particularly fond of making fun of myself in various predicaments and was reminded of this in a favorite old movie the other day. The film is called “Crossing Delancy” and it is delightful. There is a grandmother in it, the grandma of our heroine, whose name is Bubbie. Bubbie has arthritis in her shoulders and knees and often complains by saying, “Oy, such pain, such pain as only my enemies should know.”
I love Bubbie and have to agree with her. “Oy, such pain.”