During my time of vitality, I was also making some horrible choices. Instead of being grateful for all the good things that I had, I kept grasping for more, like useless shiny objects in shop window I thought would make me happy. Doing things that hurt the people closest to me and pretending it was free of charge.
And then this year happened. It’s been a very quiet year. From January onward, my health got worse and worse due to my chronic illness and a new condition that cropped up which gives me intense vertigo, until all I could do was lay on a couch with the TV off, the lights off, not moving at all except to drag myself to the bathroom a few times a day. I could manage 2-3 hours of work on my laptop, and the rest was spent just waiting for night to come so I could sleep and get to the next day when I could do my work again. For weeks on end. For months.
Though the storyteller in me is tempted to call this year ‘a severe mercy,’ and create an elaborate narrative about why it had to happen in some fake but satisfying cause-and-effect plotline—aka, I was squandering the good in my life, so then I was humbled by debilitating illness so that then I realized all the blessings surrounding me and could be grateful like Scrooge at the end of A Christmas Carol— the rest of me hopes that if there is a God, that’s not how he works.
But at the same time, I am grateful now for the many good things I still have, in spite of my ill health. Grateful in a deeply, profound way. I’ve been very alone but not lonely. I am married to the most wonderful, kind, and loving man who I'm not sure I deserve, and we have a beautiful, healthy child together. I have good work to do, a job I can do from home that I love. I’m grateful for what feel like moments of grace, where I expect the worst, and then something better happens instead. These moments have felt more and more frequent lately. I’m rarely mystical but the sense of peace, where in the past I would have felt only anger, seems to come from somewhere outside myself. If there is a God, this is how I hope he works.
After more than a decade of being sick, is this what acceptance really feels like? Finally being okay with tomorrow regardless of if it brings more sickness or more energy? Will writing this post shatter the peace I’ve felt, as if saying it out loud breaks the spell? Or does the wiser me bathed in grace realize that life isn’t so whimsical or dramatic as that, even if it sometimes feels like it.
I hope I’ve learned that fear of tomorrow has nothing to do with today, and that living today is all that matters.