Whenever I have a day like today, when I can’t budge from beneath the sheets before 10:00 AM and it takes me two hours to perform liver detox and other health-related therapies, and it’s nearly noontime before I even get around to having breakfast, I start to wonder at the sense of a life that accomplishes so little. On these days, in which I tend to be fatigued and heavily-symptomatic, time takes on a surreal dimension, as brain fog and slow movements keep me from doing much more than my treatments, a bit of yoga, and a blog post or two.
Those of you who know me might be wondering why I still have days like this. Yeah, I thought I was on the up and up, too. But a new treatment has kept my energy meter in the red over the past month, and I’m getting flashbacks of my earlier Lyme days, when my daily schedule looked something like this:
9:00 AM–lollygag in bed
9:30 AM- thyroid medication and castor oil pack on the liver
10:00 AM-lollygag in bed for another half-hour
11:00 AM- prayer
12:0o PM- check email
1:00 PM- yoga or walking
2:00 PM- lunch
3:00 PM…The day is more than half over, and what have I accomplished? Sheesh, how my crazy notions of productivity used to depress me!
If I experience too many days like this, as I have lately, I start going for the toilet rolls and my choo-choo train blanket. I head for my bed, ready to unleash the rainstorm behind my eyes and throw some thunderous punches at my creator.
Doing this is good for me. I usually end up more peaceful afterwards. Letting the storm run loose and showering my pain upon God often brings me to a better place than I was before, because I’m left with a different perspective about life than the one I had previously.
And one of the impressions I often get when I roar about not having a productive enough life, is that it doesn’t matter. Yes, I get the annoying feeling that nothing in life matters that much. Only God. This usually ticks me off at first. What am I, a monk? If I wanted that job, I would have signed up for it long ago, thank you, Your Majesty!
But then, I get a glimpse of life…not just this life, but the life beyond. I get a vision of a timeline, one that starts right here on earth but which stretches on into infinity. The segment pertaining to this earth is just a wee little black dot; insignificant, really. I think; If all these years that I’m spending in a useless fog are really THAT short, then it doesn’t matter, because my “real” life–that is, the life that I believe I will have after my spirit leaves this body–hasn’t even begun. According to my faith, anyway.
I admit, I have trouble looking forward to that life and living for a tomorrow that, while I believe is going to be marvelous, isn’t filling me with oodles of bubbly joy today.
But then yet another truth emerges. What I do or don’t accomplish in this life may not matter much, but I can make it matter more by focusing upon what I have been given to enjoy instead of wishing for what I don’t have. Paradoxical, my creator often is. Yes, it doesn’t matter but do I want to be happy? Okay then, what can I find in my surroundings that matters and brings me joy? What can I set my energies upon that would enable me to smile like a thousand splendid suns? If I can cultivate the practice of appreciation for those itty bitty things that I still get to do, see, touch and feel, then life doesn’t have to feel meaningless.
Another frequent impression I get is that this life of poor productivity is also fertile ground for the realization of great truths. Such as, that joy is found in wisdom, not circumstance. I tend to notice that God grants me wisdom whenever I am desperate, and can do nothing else but listen for His truths, while wrapped up in my choo choo blanket in the silence of my bedroom. Wisdom is found in knowing the truth, and the truth is, happiness hides in unexpected places. Not that I’ve found all of those places yet. But I have the feeling that He’s helping me to find them.
God’s wisdom to me, these days, seems to be that busyness is hurtful to my soul. Are you wondering now if I just need to spiritualize my illness, or to rationalize this difficult life? The broken do that out of desperation, yes, but maybe the broken are the only ones who get past the trinkets of the world and into the arms of God.
The trouble with me is that I live with one foot in the hemisphere of the creation and the other, in the hemisphere of the heavenly, but being divided, I find no great joy in either. Part of me still believes that freedom is found in earthly fun, while my higher self knows that touching God’s golden hem is the way out, no matter that my perpetual grasping often leaves me short of His garment. When I feel good, then the world and its treasures beckon like the birthday party I never had. A social life, some meaningful work…ah, how wonderful! And then, when I crash and there’s no party to attend…I start looking for a seat at God’s banquet because my body has refused me the world’s.
I wonder about the great saints of the world. Those people who are content to meditate for hours, simply resting in God’s presence. Would they see my situation as golden? No work, no distractions? Just hang out with God because you’re too sick to do anything else? Ah yes, what a marvelous opportunity to commune with the creator, without the disturbances of creation! What more could a soul want, than to know He who made all that exists?
(Oh and, pardon my grammar, but my god likes for me to refer to Him with a capital “H.”).
I wish I could think like a monk. If I could, I’d probably be the happiest Lyme disease sufferer on the planet. So since I’m not, perhaps the best thing I can do with the hours that escape me, and with the notion of a life that feels unlived, is to seek God’s face. It would be easier if that face came to me with as much immediacy and clarity as my own when I look into the mirror, but I don’t imagine that any saint truly knew God after just two minutes in His presence.
I don’t want this life. I don’t want to be a mystic and to while away my young adult life contemplating how to find joy in a life of inactivity. But if I, if you, are in this place, then you know that it’s the sentence we’ve been given to live out for now, and there’s not much we can do about it. So do we stomp our feet and rage against the organisms that have no right to our bodies? Do we implore our creator for another life, or do we choose to bloom in the mud we’ve been stuck in and believe that our will can override the hell in which we live? Indeed, do we believe that God’s spirit within us can overcome sleepless nights, and fog-filled days of nothingness?
If my lightning storm sessions with God ever taught me a thing or two, the first would be that mindfulness, in all that I do, is paramount. Focusing upon the flavor of the food I get to eat every day, even though it’s hard to digest, and being thankful that I can sleep in every single morning, even though I lament rising at 10:00 AM. It’s still better than enduring the fatigue of an 8-5 job. Looking for the sterling in that storm cloud means noticing the sun that filters into my living room in the morning, or smiling at the possibility of knowing my creator better because I vitally need to know that something greater lies beyond the Lyme life. Indeed, rejoicing that the life that God wants for me hasn’t yet begun, because I believe in Heaven, and that means something much better than what I’ve found here.