When my husband walked out the door with my two kids I wailed up in tears. I was dressed, hair fixed, makeup on, and ready to go learn and visit with my brethren for the evening. I had missed the previous night of our Vacation Bible School because I was feeling too weak, and I was determined to make it this time no matter how bad I felt. In fact, I had felt so good all day and had been able to accomplish so much. But the resulting evening pain from a productuve day had gotten progressively worse to the point of just 10 minutes before time to leave I was in full-fledged flu mode, feeling weak and feverish. This was the second episode I had had in two weeks. A fibromyalgia episode for me that’s experienced maybe once a year. What was it that was causing these bad flareups? I had my theory.
3 Weeks of Bliss
A wise woman with fibromyalgia once told me that when you have this disease you have to get your rest. Between the demands of life and my ambitious spirit, this has been one of the single most challenges for me. Having to stop myself for a few hours a day just to lay around and do nothing when there is so much I could be doing goes against everything I desire and feel. Although this has been a necessity to survive these past eight years, I suddenly felt empowered to test the theory that has so long sustained me. And so, I embarked on a personal experiment just to see how far I could push myself because maybe, just maybe, I was getting too much rest and that was making me worse.
At first, my empowerment was paying off. Though I still had moments of fatigue, I would push myself through it and only rest briefly when I got to the point of exhaustion. It did seem as though my energy levels were higher overall, and I was accomplishing so much more in a day than I had in years. Honestly, I think a lot of it had to do with the excitement of embarking on something new, and the thought of proving a theory wrong. It was three weeks worth of bliss that gave me a new hope and zeal for my future. Adversely though, everyone with fibromyalgia knows that the reality of this disease eventually finds you again. It did for me at the close of a fulfilling Sunday.
2 Weeks of Reality
As I was talking to my Christian sister at the home of one of our brethren, I suddenly felt a consuming sense of weakness. I got up and went to the table to sit by my husband, and he saw it all over my face. He was no stranger to my sudden onset of symptoms, but this episode was a little more intense than my usual. By the time we got home, I was full of chills that forced me into the only place I could find temporary relief…the hot shower. Shivering as I got into bed afterwards, the chills turned into fever, muscle exhaustion, and pain. Sweat signaled the end of the fever, but the flu-like experience lingered into the next couple days. I knew this wasn’t the actual flu, because I had had these rare episodes before. Was it a result of me pushing myself so much? Possibly, but I wasn’t so much convinced as I thought that perhaps this was a fluke.
There are those of us who can take a hint and stop pushing. Then there are others that have to keep pushing the line until the hint turns into the obvious to be fully convinced. I decided to keep pushing myself in spite of the hint. When the second episode happened a week later, the hint became the obvious. My empowerment had run its course, and now it was time to once again face the reality of what these two weeks had revealed. My experiment was completed and my time to push was up.
For those that suffer with fibromyalgia, there’s a fine line between calling the good days a blessing or a curse. You feel like you can conquer the world yet the conqueror is always brought back to be the weakling. Your elevated to heights of passion then fall to depths of misery. Loving the days of energy only to despise them when they’re gone. It’s a glimpse of what your healthy life used to be that’s a setup for difficult days. All this results in a rollercoaster of emotions that you have to learn to manage if you’re going to survive.
My overwhelmment of tears when my family walked out the door that night is a way of survival. I needed this brief moment to feel my grief in the realization that my life would continue just as it has been. To accept once again that I would have to put some of my passions and ambitions aside just so I could take care of the necessary daily demands. To remember that there will be times when I feel lonely because I am not able to do as my family and everyone else. No, I wasn’t depressed, though I have greatly struggled with this in the past. I’ve learned the benefit of these cleansing tears as long as I don’t allow myself to stay in this woeful state. This has only been overcome by years of consistently fighting to see valuable opportunities in all days thus diminishing that fine line to make every day a blessing.
If I want to survive this wearisome rollercoaster, I have to find joy in the ride or else the constant ups and downs will consume me. This experiment’s reality check just became another opportunity for me to refocus my perspectives. I understand there is always a certain level of mindfulness and acceptance in what I can and can’t do that is needed with this disease, but that doesn’t mean that I have to surrender any blessings of joy because of it. Focusing my perspective on the fortunes that each day brings is the core of experiencing blessings no matter the circumstances.
Basically stated, I find the blessings of the good days is in the joy of doing while the blessings of the bad days is in the joy of reminders. As the conqueror, I experience victory in accomplishments yet the weakling reminds me of the original Giver of strength. Heights of passion allow me to express my charitable desires while misery keeps me desiring the great Comforter. Loving my days of energy that I despise when they’re gone propels me to turn to reliance on the Sustainer. My glimpse of a past healthy life is a setup for the difficulty that pushes me to strive for hope of an eternal resting place with the Nurturer. Hence, the good days are the outward expression of devotion to the Lord’s work, and the bad days are the inward reflection of trust in His work.
Since there’s always a beneficial perspective that can be seen in the midst of my ailments, then every day is a blessing. To have days where my measure of good health allows me to serve others in love, and then other days where my physical infirmities force me to surrender myself to focus on the Source of love, makes it then unfavorable to call any day bad. Therefore, with the empowerment of experiencing that every day is a blessing through the One who makes all days good, my three weeks of bliss and two weeks of reality has once again made it very obvious that my Maker is always there preserving me for the ultimate reality of eternal bliss. A theory that’s never been proven wrong and one that assures survival of any fibro flare.
The Giver, Comforter, Sustainer, Nurturer, my Lord God Almighty, it is assuring to know that I can depend on You to help me survive any of life’s trials. Thank You for the blessings of every day no matter the circumstances. I see all days as an opportunity to grow in Your love whether it be through helping others, allowing others to help me, or reflecting upon You as the source of love. I trust You, Father, as You lead me to my eternal resting place; a place of bliss that You have prepared for those who love You. Where the reality of my eternal fate will be rewarded with a crown of life along with others who glorify Your name. Hallelujah! Amen!
Truth in love,