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Lessons From The Snowstorm: 4 Lessons On Living With Chronic Illness

When we got up around 6:00 Sunday morning the snow had just started coming down. There was just a light dusting on the ground, and the fine snowflakes coming down were barely visible, except under the streetlights.

That would change quickly. The flakes increased in size and that light dusting turned into a deep blanket of white that would continue to build for the next 18 hours or so. We ended up with 11.7 inches of snow.

I’m from the south, and I’m just not used to that kind of snow! Even when I lived in Germany I don’t remember having a single snow that deep, so it was an adventure (and I wasn’t sure it was going to be a good one) for me.

snow-covered trees

 

The snow was beautiful, but not only that – it had some lessons in it.

Here are just a few of them:

There are still good, kind people in the world.

As the snow piled up outside I started to worry about how we were going to get the sidewalk and driveway cleared. As I mentioned in Adjusting Expectations, my husband has experienced a relapse with his pericarditis and didn’t need to be out shoveling.

I was just hoping that the young people who were going around trying to make some extra money last year would show up again  this year with their shovels. I happened to look out the window about 6:00 that evening and our neighbor was clearing one side of the driveway from the garage down to the street. He had already cleared our porch and sidewalk without our even knowing he was there.

If you watch the news with any regularity and listen to all the angry voices on television, social media, and even sometimes here in the blogosphere, it’s easy to believe that there are no kind, decent people in the world anymore. It’s also easy to become disillusioned with people when we fight so hard to be believed when we say we’re suffering (especially when our illness is invisible.)  The actions of people like our wonderful neighbor, however show us that there are still many good, kind individuals all around us.

We can find good in every situation if only we look.

While I was wrestling with concerns about how we were going to get the snow cleared from our sidewalk and driveway, the kids across the street were having a wonderful time playing in the snow and sledding down their driveway. Although the snow was creating some potential problems it was also making new opportunities possible. The same can be said of our illnesses. Yes, chronic illness is a challenge, a big one, but as we live with and learn from it, we’re often presented with new opportunities. Many who learn to thrive in spite of their illnesses go on to help others dealing with the same thing.

When it’s coming down fast and furious, sometimes it’s best to just hunker down and wait it out.

When challenges are coming at us one after another – pain, fatigue, stress – it can feel overwhelming and it may seem as if we’re just going to be buried under it all forever. But just as the snow melts, our flares settle down, our fatigue may lighten up a little, and those stressors that seemed to be taking over are no longer an issue. It’s not pleasant while we’re in it, but if we can just wait a little while, things will most likely change.

We can’t allow ourselves to be hardened by the pressures of living with a chronic illness. 

When the snow was coming down, it was a dry, soft snow that was fairly easy to sweep or shovel away, but as it piled up, the snow on the bottom started to compact from the pressure of the snow on top of it and soon became a layer of ice on all hard surfaces.

This hard snow/ice can be extremely destructive, just as allowing ourselves to become hardened can be destructive to us. The day to day pressure of living with a chronic illness can cause us to become so internally focused that if we’re not careful, we can become less empathetic and understanding. Worse than that, we can become one of those angry people we see on the news. That anger can turn into a hard, impenetrable wall that keeps others out and keeps us trapped within a prison of our own making.

snow-covered porch rails and plants

I’m happy to report that we survived our historic (the most snow ever recorded in December in our city) storm with no issues. We even kept our electricity throughout, which is a miracle around here!

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from a less-than-desirable situation? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

 

 

 

 

24 comments

  1. So touching to hear of selflessness in our community. You are right- it rarely makes it to the news.
    Glad you did okay and even kept power!! We were right on the line where the snow stopped around 3-4 inches and switched to ice. Some how we kept power too. But 20 mins from us people reported 8-10 inches!

    1. Thanks so much Cara! I’m glad you guys made it through safely and were able to keep power also, especially with the ice. I think I’d rather have a lot of snow than a little ice. Let’s hope this isn’t going to be the norm for this year.😊 Blessings to you!

  2. Crikey, that’s a lot of snow! I love how you’ve shown the lessons from the experience, and I’m glad there are lovely neighbours where you are. I agree with what you said about the news, and I think it’s awful that 99% of what you hear and read seems to be negative and so disheartening. Waiting and riding out the storm, metaphorically speaking, can often be the best way through difficult times. Such a wonderful, thought-provoking post, and I’m glad you’re all safe and well. Xxxx

    1. Thank you so much Caz! We really do have lovely neighbors and feel blessed to have them! It really is a shame that the news is so negative; it really can make people feel there’s no hope for us. That’s what makes these examples of selflessness and caring even more special. I agree with you that waiting and riding out the storm can be the best thing we can do sometimes. It’s easy to get discouraged when we’re in these tough spots, but if we can just wait it out, before too long we can usually see a break in the clouds….

  3. There’s so much snow! I agree with all of your lessons, and I have learnt to just enjoy being stuck in when the weather is really bad, and enjoy a quiet couple of days. I will still be hoping that we don’t get much year this winter though. 🙂 xxx

    1. It’s nice when you can just learn to enjoy being at home, isn’t it? It’s a good thing I’m able to do that too, because I didn’t go anywhere for about 6 days. I don’t usually stay at home for that long, but since we didn’t have to get out on the roads, I figured it was better to just stay put.😊 My husband loves the snow, but I’d be fine if this was the only one we got.😁

  4. Nice to hear of neighbours helping out. We live in a snow belt, so often get such storms. It is hard to maneuver through when you need a walker to get around – thus the trip south. I can remember as a young woman, going out with the snowplow and helping dig people out all across town. We thought it was fun.

    1. I’m glad we don’t get them often. No wonder you guys leave town.😁 It’s funny the things we think of as fun when we’re young, isn’t it? I can remember helping my friend’s Dad load hay on trucks when I was a kid, and I thought that was fun. It doesn’t sound like much fun to me now, though ha ha. Hope you guys weren’t in the path of those storms down in TX.

  5. Lovely post Terri, I love the way you have used the storm as lessons for chronic illness. I’m not having a good FM day today so found it comforting…
    Glad you were both okay!
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer! I’m so sorry you’re not having a good day today. I hope this FM “storm” passes quickly for you. Sending warm thoughts and gentle hugs your way, sweet friend.

    1. Thanks so much Don! I hope your knee is doing better, and that you guys made it through the storm okay. Blessings to you!

      1. Knee injuries are tricky, aren’t they? I hope it heals up soon. I know it has to be frustrating for you, especially this time of year.

  6. Terri, I am trying to learn how to ask for help. Harder still, how to ask for help without feeling like I am taking advantage of anyone! I used to be able to be the helper…

    1. Oh Wendylynn, I know what you mean…. It really is hard, especially for those of us who used to help everyone else, to ask for help. I still have a hard time with that – in fact, my hubby and I were just talking about that the other day. I think it’s a learning process; learning what you’re still able to do yourself and what you have to have help with, and learning to give yourself some grace when you do have to reach out for help. Eventually, I think we find the balance.

    1. Thank you so much Amanda! Finding the positive in difficult situations isn’t always easy, but I know it certainly helps me thrive instead of just surviving. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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