Practicing Gratitude During Sickness

IMG_9310I’ve struggled with immense guilt while being sick the past several days. I felt it coming on over the weekend, and it transformed into a full body ache, chills, and fever, and a horrific cough that keeps me up most of the night. I’ve been sitting in a daze watching Netflix documentaries, sipping tea and soup, taking ridiculous amount of herbs, and wondering at the unfairness of moms getting sick. Margot’s 2 years old and Cassian’s almost 5 months old, we just moved, Taylor is busy with so much on his plate, and I just don’t have time for this nonsense. I have so much to do. 

It took until the end of the third day of this illness for me to finally turn around my angry mindset and actually look for the lessons in this temporary derailment of my plans. The fact that it is temporary, is the whole point, really. I am blessed with health, and it’s quickly taken for granted when I get swept up in my day to day life. It only takes a sickness going around to pull me to a screeching halt, bearing the gentle reminder that I am not invincible. Health is something beautiful and blessed. A gift from the Lord God. I know many who do not have it, and my heart breaks for them. The least I can do to honour these few is to practice deep appreciation of living and serving in my own God-given health. Getting sick on occasion is such a good reminder of this. And so I am actually finding myself grateful that this happened, and at such an inopportune time too. I can better appreciate my overall health that I have the rest of the good, long year.  

Don’t get me wrong, I still deeply dislike being forced to slow down and this is a lesson and mindset that will take some serious intention to practice. But it’s been really good for me in the past day to be thinking this way.

Even watching the way my home has fallen apart around me has its lessons too, as frustrating as it is to view: sink full of dishes, counters crusted over and not wiped in a week, the dirty laundry piled high and now mixed with the clean laundry that never got folded (Guess what? Now it’s all dirty.), and an endless sea of clutter scattered around the house and….so many tissues from blowing my nose. It seriously stresses me out just looking at it all. But here’s where another layer of appreciation for illness comes in. For whatever reason, I often struggle with feeling like I’m not doing enough in my life. My own everyday accomplishments never seem to be “enough” by some entirely nonspecific standard I give myself for how hard I’m supposed to work and all my achievements and goals I am working towards. But when I look at what our home looks like after only 4 days of me basically just sitting on the couch trying to maintain the will to live (Okay, I get super dramatic when I’m sick), I truly realise how much I do accomplish and how much I contribute to our family and home, let alone all the other things I add to my plate, like Herbalism courses, language study, and reading an ever growing pile of books. I laugh at myself and realise I am doing just fine. I have no idea why us moms can be so hard on ourselves. But I do it just like everyone else. 

This illness also has given me a unique moment slowing down and allowing others to serve me. That may sound weird. But us moms tend to work and work and work, putting ourselves last. And those closest to us want to serve and show us love, but we so rarely slow down long enough to let them. This past week has provided the opportunity for my husband Taylor to take care of me and pick up some of the slack around the house, for my sister to come over and cook for me and watch the kids, and for my mom as well to bring me food and help watch the kids while Taylor worked. It means so much to be allowed to express your love to those around you when they need it most. So learning to slow down and accept that for myself has been another good lesson this week, especially as a mother who never wants to stop.

Anyways. This post is probably a disaster of the written word, but be patient with me friends, as I am continually pausing as I type to cough violently and generally feel like I did one thousand sit-ups in the middle of the night because my abs are just killing me.

At least the fever is gone. 

– Helen Rose

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Author: helen.wildrose

Christian • Herbalist • Writer • INFJ

6 thoughts on “Practicing Gratitude During Sickness”

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