Sunday, January 31, 2010

So I'm at home from church again. I'm going to be honest here, and not hide the fact that I am having menstrual cramps from the hot place. Which is kind of ironic, since I have been taking this wonderful supplement (or something) called Appleboost and either because of it or by sheer coincidence my bladder is doing remarkably well. Remarkably. So, I could be bummed that while I should be experiencing the wonder of feeling better IC-wise, I am instead curled up on the couch with a bottle of Midol and my heating pad, or I could be grateful that my uterus isn't bouncing up and down on a flaming bladder. I chose gratitude. I know this is all very indelicate, but it's life. Sometimes things don't go well, body parts rebel and cause all sorts of misery. And sometimes something as simple as ground up concentrated apple peel (the contents of Appleboost) have enough anti-inflammatory properties to potentially give relief to some of the misery. At least, I hope that's what's doing it. :)

I don't know if I have a high pain threshold. I tend to think I do, because I experience almost constant pain and handle it relatively well. But it is possible that after years of IC bladder pain, my body has become uber-sensitive to it and my pain threshold is actually quite low. It doesn't really matter. All that matters is how I handle it emotionally and mentally. 'Cause it can make one nuts. Like, seriously. Irritable, cranky, self-pitying, helpless, hopeless nuts.

If I could pinpoint one thing that keeps me from going bonkers, there would be no contest. It is gratitude. I decided a long time ago to be grateful and it is a decision I make everyday. There is always something to be grateful for. Always. Grateful to who? God. Grateful for what? The list is endless. Through heart-breaking loss of everything that was dear to me, through physical illness and debility, through disappointment and disillusionment, and cutting, searing emotional pain, there has been grace and love and therefore much call for gratitude. It almost sounds too simple and too difficult at the same time.

Gratitude keeps the trouble from becoming all-encompassing in my mind. There is more to my life than the pain. There is more to me than pain. In fact, by following Jesus through, there is more to me because of the pain. Compassion. Empathy. Kindness. Gentleness. Patience. Even joy. These are God's gifts to those who allow Him to nurture them through difficult times. There is no need to grit my teeth and clench my fists, pushing, forcing, coping, so at the end I can thump my chest and crow that I made it through on my own. Instead I am invited to relax into the care of One who loves me, to move forward with purpose and hope, to follow, to trust, to hope, and to expect great things. So at the end, I have not only survived, or triumphed, or vanquished my foes. I have been loved. Wildly, extravagantly loved. By God.


Now, where did I put the Midol?

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