“Life is too short, take nothing for granted”
These are catch phrases we have probably allowed to roll off our tongues at one time or another.
Both have so much meaning and I hazard a guess, a slightly different meaning for all of us.
On my Facebook Support Group, we have a weekly segment called “Thankful Thursday”. Members share a few things they are grateful for in their lives. Big or small, it doesn’t matter.
It sounds easy enough but all of our members suffer from debilitating chronic illness. It can be incredibly hard not to be overcome by pain and symptoms.
Nevertheless, we do all find something good in our lives to share and celebrate. It’s a lovely uplifting segment that I look forward to each week.
As I was contemplating the things I was grateful for this week, I realised I was really struggling to honestly feel grateful at all.
Am I Grateful Or Am I Taking Things For Granted?
I’m absolutely exhausted with my constant pain levels. I know I’m mostly housebound but life is still way too busy.
I spend a good 40 hours a week on my Forum. I write, I network with other bloggers, I’m an online volunteer with an Arthritis organisation, I spend time with my husband, do household tasks and look after our finances and other household admin. Pretty much a full-time job while living with a debilitating disease.
I’m incredibly grateful that I can do all of the above. So grateful I can use my mind as it helps distract me from my physical pain.
In that moment as I was thinking about my exhaustion and all I was juggling, I realised there was something I was most grateful for. It was something I never want to take for granted.
A “Mind Full” Moment
My mind, my brain, my ability to think. I am so grateful for it but even more than that…..I found myself saying;
“ I want to use my mind while I can, I don’t want to take it for granted. I may not always have it”
Right there, right then, I felt every depth of gratefulness for being able to use my brain. Not just intellectually but in many other ways.
I can dream, I can remember wonderful moments in my past. I can manage my disease better by thinking through the consequences of my actions.
I can write, I can sing. I can enjoy TV shows because my brain allows me to follow story lines.
I can have lengthy chats with my husband while relaxing together.
I can make phone calls and organise household administrative tasks.
I can read and research.
I negotiate my health care and work in partnership with my medical team.
All of this and more is because my mind, my brain functions.
Loss Causes Us To Re-Evaluate Everything
There are many things in my life that I don’t take for granted and many that I do and shouldn’t. We all do though.
- I didn’t ever consider losing the use of my legs but I have.
- I didn’t ever consider losing my independence but I have.
- I didn’t ever consider losing my taste and smell but on most days I have lost both of these senses.
- I didn’t think I would ever have a permanent colostomy but I do.
- I didn’t think I would lose my hair and need a wig, but I am and do.
Loss definitely causes us to re-evaluate everything. It’s not a bad thing, especially if it leads us to focusing on what we still have.
My gratitude for having a functioning mind is huge. There’s an underlying reason for that.
My beautiful Grandmother died from Alzheimer’s Disease and one of my Aunties is currently battling this insidious disease.
Does that mean I’m likely to also have the disease later in life? Who knows. It does however make me so aware of the gift of a functioning mind and that makes me never want to take it for granted.
Gratefully Take Nothing For Granted
I remember having viral pneumonia, 6 months before I was to be married, many, many years ago. I was in hospital and my parents and fiancée (now husband) had been told by my Specialists I wasn’t responding to any treatment and they were very concerned.
I was so focused mentally on getting well for my upcoming wedding, I didn’t for one moment consider not surviving.
What did concern me was that I couldn’t speak at all. I had never lost my voice like that before. As a singer my main concern was would I ever be able to sing again. I was also a Bank Manager at the time so talking was pretty important for my career too.
I eventually recovered but it took 3 months for my voice to return. It was a scary time and from that moment on I have never taken my voice for granted.
If you are struggling with your chronic disease and finding it really hard to find anything to be grateful for, think about what you can still do. What part of your body is still working?
Think about what it would be like if that part of you ceased to work.
It won’t be long before you have something very tangible to be grateful for. Something that you will realise you can’t ever take for granted.
Before long you too will be gratefully taking nothing for granted.
When times are good, be joyful;
When times are bad, consider this:
God made the one as well as the other, so people won’t seek anything outside of his best.
Ecclesiastes 7 v 14 (ISV)
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story