Lessons of Life Include The Lessons of Illness
“Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time. Even an illness or accident can show you what is real and unreal in your life, what ultimately matters and what doesn’t.” -Eckhart Tolle
What lessons have you learned from your chronic illness? Do they come to you automatically as I ask this? Or do you really have to think deeply before you come up with anything? I assure you, there are answers to these questions. Its merely how far you have come and how much you have thought about it.
Gifts come to us in all kinds of ways. Some have said that on the other side of misfortune lies opportunity. I have sent you information on that in past columns. Others say that difficulty points you down a different road, one that you may not have chosen before, but one that you will come to know and learn much from.
I can assure you in every new day lies a lesson for you to learn. Some are painful and some are glorious. Life can be bittersweet. We have to learn to take the bad with the good and the good with the bad. Remembering also that there is a flip side to any situation….we can see the forest through the trees, we can learn about ourselves, about our loved ones. We can learn slowly how to change our lives.
Hold On To You Have
Yes, you have a chronic illness. Yes, you have pain issues, days you feel awful and fatigued. But look around you at what you do have! These are the times when you grab and hold what you do have. For before you were ill, you might have been too busy and too uncaring to spend these moments of love with the ones who love you.
And if you have been abandoned by loved ones, it can be very painful and sad. For you dear hearts, you will learn how to open up your life to others outside of family who can be even more caring and kind to you. You can attend church, temple, or religious services and meet caring people. You can form a support group for others with chronic illness. You can reach out on your computers and find others to communicate with each new day. Whether or not you like it, with chronic illness, a new world opens up to you….a world you only noticed from the outside before. And with it, comes a deeper understanding of suffering and those who suffer. A new caring and compassion that might not have been there for you before.
Then there is nature and the things you took for granted. There are books to read and magazines and newspapers to learn from. Learning can be endless and it can open up a whole new world in your areas of interest. You may not be financially productive, but you can certainly talk, and express your educated opinions on things that you have learned in your free time. You can write, and paint and sing. Yes, sing!
And you can help others. You can reach out and do the things that make you feel as if you have something important to contribute. Some of you will find a deeper meaning to your lives through doing this. Others, will perhaps find newer deeper interests to help them find meaning in their lives again.
Focus on the Now, Not The Past
And if you learn to live in the NOW, you will find wondrous opportunities to learn, listen and appreciate the world that you can be a part of at your own pace. Life is still out there for you to live NOW, even if you cannot work, or if you feel ill much of the time. Make it work for you NOW. Value your time with your family and friends NOW, and value the new things you learn every day.
Yes, there are deep lessons to learn from having a chronic illness. Let them be helpful in overcoming your old attitudes toward sickness by bringing a brand new world to your doorstep! Begin by creating a brand new you!
I assure you, better days are ahead of you. Let us walk down this healing road together. Always with peace and love,
(c) 2005 – Frannie Rose
Editor’s Note – Reading Frannie Rose is like receiving a hug when you need it the most. Author of Fixing Frannie, she is a patient-advocate, inspirational speaker and writer on chronic illness, spirituality and faith. She has, over the years, taken numerous questions from patients that are well worth sharing! You can find her today providing retreats and workshops through One Simple Voice.