the fish gut eater

A year ago I had my last hospital visit – until yesterday. After last year’s visit the physician who attended me treated me for a while, then told me my situation would improve, and to give it time. Yesterday, I found out I am in worse shape than a year before.

No one is going to believe me here but I believe I am more ill, yet again and despite my handsome and erudite physician’s promises, because I am supposed to learn something. I haven’t learned it yet, as far as I know. So I am mulling over what it might be. By the way, don’t think I believe that once I learn what I’m supposed to learn I will stop getting ill, or that I will get better. No, I will learn, and maybe I will get better or maybe I will get worse or who knows, maybe I will die. Who knows. What I’m looking forward to, is learning.

Am I supposed to learn I am not kind and other-centered enough, when others are ill or having troubles? Am I supposed to learn to follow a treatment plan religiously and not stray one tiny bit? Am I supposed to un-learn my profound dislike of pharmaceuticals and my prejudices and fears around them? Am I supposed to unlearn my deep-seated distrust of my husband, whose previous responses to my illnesses were so dysfunctional that I learned a kind of hyper-vigilance? Am I supposed to learn yet more acceptance because I still have that pride, that arrogance, that profound non-acceptance?

Am I supposed to learn, to really learn, how to take care of myself – no matter how humbling, and no matter what, and even if I seem to be falling into more and more helplessness?

I believe in patience and persistance so I am not worried over what I’m supposed to be learning. I am merely exercising the possibilities and I’m recording here, for accountability, that I’m in a little pain during this time – the emotional pain is far worse than the physical. Since I believe in prayer, meditation, patience and persistance I will continue to patiently take the medication directed me, patiently follow the treatment plans outlined by the best practitioners I can find, and commit to continuing to meet my responsibilities – to family, to friends, to my volunteer work, and to myself.

Tonight a friend of mine arrived at our home with three steaming hot pizzas and several bags of groceries for us. Not just groceries but kind of the perfect groceries for feeding children – a half dozen types of fruit, string cheese and yogurt, pop and ice cream sandwiches, eggs and bacon, crackers and candybars, tomatoes and lettuce and cottage cheese, and vegetable juice. My fridge is full and we are provided for, especially my children so that I can give them love even if I’m resting on the couch. I feel so much gratitude it is hard to articulate, and I’m pretty okay at communicating most of the time.

Perhaps other people learn through the good things but I learn through devastation, small and large. Humiliation matures into humility which is the foundation for gratitude. “You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.” Humility and gratitude are my only logical responses to living on this earth, and I can learn this through my pain and suffering and I can learn it through my joy, and soon those things merge into one and I can’t really tell the difference.

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