Any recipe for happiness always calls for a healthy dollop of gratitude. It is, of course, easy to be grateful when one has something obvious to be grateful for. But when things are not quite so obvious, but you seek them out to be grateful for them anyway, that’s when the magic really happens (as I found out for myself today)!
For the last few days, I have been extremely nervous about an upcoming trip halfway across the world. It involves traveling for nearly two days, without the possibility of any real rest break in between. It is the first time I will be making quite such a trip since my fibromyalgia kicked in full force. And I am dreading the depth of the crash that will hit me at the end of it.
Though I am rarely the kind of person to bemoan my fate a lot, this was one instance where the unfairness really hit hard. I have always loved traveling and never really worried about making it by myself. But since my endurance levels have plummeted with fibro, my self-confidence has taken a heavy beating. I even considered asking for disability assistance at the airport, but I am not really disabled, and so felt incredibly guilty potentially stealing away the personnel and equipment from somebody who might really need it. Besides, I could only imagine the looks I would get in a wheelchair, at my age, and with my illness being invisible! All in all, I was really beginning to feel like life and fate were leaving me out in the cold.
After sliding halfway down into the pit of despair, it suddenly occurred to me, that despite the recently worsened fatigue problems, I have been no stranger to pain – not for a very long time! Traveling has always been hard on my back. Developing full-fledged fibro has just made it a bit harder. Yet, at the same time, having that diagnosis has meant that I now have much better resources to ease the pain than I did before! I finally have access to medicines that are designed to try to prevent bad flares, and then subdue them if and when they do occur. I never had any of that before! I was just forced to deal with the pain all by myself.
And suddenly, that one realization filled me with so much gratitude! Gratitude for being able to have the diagnosis, for being able to access the medication I need, for a medical team that has been beyond phenomenal, and for a family who have been trying to make my journey as comfortable as possible.
Life had not left me out in the cold! I had both formal and informal support systems to help me as new difficulties arose. Being able to recognize that, especially though all my grief and woes, felt like a gentle cozy hug on a cold and windy day. I couldn’t help feeling warm and fuzzy inside, as it filled me with so much joy, despite all my apprehensions about the trip!
That’s when I realized the true magic of the gift of gratitude. The joy it brings never runs out! There is always something to be grateful about, whatever the outward circumstances may be. And in that sense, it is truly a gift that keeps on giving!
I wish all my dear readers a wonderful holiday season! I may be gone awhile for this trip, but promise to return soon in the new year, with more thoughts and tips from my fibro journey. Thank you all for supporting me through 2016!