"Turn your wounds into wisdom." ~Oprah Winfrey
It was a good day today...a very good day. Yesterday's flare-up, triggered by a series of very hot days, seems to have ended. I was able to resume my normal routine with a deeper appreciation for every moment lived pain-free. I tackled my to-do list with a renewed sense of gratitude. Even the task of washing the kitchen floor was a pleasure.
This is perhaps one of my most cherished gifts in my walk with chronic pain ~ savoring the good days. I can celebrate the ordinary activities that many take for granted. The first treasure I glean along the path of pain is APPRECIATION for everything. My list is endless.
GRATITUDE walks hand in hand with APPRECIATION. Thank you for each and every day! Even the difficult ones. Thank you for the people I get to enjoy on this journey. I am especially grateful for my family. They love me unconditionally and extravagantly, even on the days when I feel so unlovable. Chronic pain has opened the door to a more thankful spirit.
COMPASSION ~ I never really understood another person's suffering until I experienced my own. I think I am a kinder person because of the road I have travelled with pain. It has made me more sensitive to the struggles that other people face. I love this treasure! Maybe because the only way for me to get to this place is by walking the rugged path myself, COMPASSION feels like a badge of honor.
I have also gained PERSPECTIVE. Pain has taught me to keep my priorities in order. It reminds me of what is important, and helps me focus on the things that matter. And though it's difficult to explain, it's teaching me to be less self-absorbed. This has been a long, slow process. Pain can have the opposite effect. But I am learning how to forget about myself and put other people first. I get awfully tired of my own problems. It is refreshing to put myself on the back burner and pour myself into someone else's life.
The last treasure I share is HOPE. Because the pain is a constant reminder to me of where my hope comes from. It's not in the thought that tomorrow may be pain-free. My hope is set squarely on the One who empowers me to live and breathe each day, regardless of how I am feeling. I am just passing through. This is not my home. The bad days help me to remember this, and live my life accordingly.
Truth be told, I hate pain. But I cannot let it defeat me. I have to be on the constant look-out for what it is trying to teach me. I still have much to learn. I want to embrace the gifts that only pain can offer. I may not be able to control my circumstances, but I can certainly control how I respond to them. That in itself is a treasure worth finding.
If you are a fellow traveller, I am cheering you on!
"I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne'er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me."
~Robert Browning Hamilton