How are you feeling today? my husband asked. Well, I haven’t cried today, so that’s an improvement, right?
It had been a rough several days. As I wrote about in Is Your Chronic Illness Hiding A Problem?, I had a skin biopsy done a while back, and it turned out to be a squamous cell carcinoma. This particular flare started after I had it removed last Thursday, and was compounded by several pieces of sad news and worry about our sick pup.
Although I was able to get some things accomplished, I was mostly just waiting for the days to be over so I could go back to bed.
The day after my husband and I had this conversation, I woke up feeling back to my normal.
Signs of Life
We went out into the back yard later in the morning and I noticed we had several clumps of daffodils blooming already. They’re my favorite flower — they always remind me that Spring is just around the corner, but they also remind me of new life.
If you’ve ever planted daffodils, you’ve probably noticed that the bulbs really don’t look like much. They remind me a little of dried-up little onions. During the difficult times, our lives, like those bulbs, may not look like much, but they are filled with potential. During different seasons, our lives may change shape, they may look different than we thought they would look, but they can still become something beautiful.
You plant daffodils in the Fall when the weather is starting to get cooler, and they sit in that cold, dark dirt waiting for the time to sprout and come up into the light of day. They require that period of dormancy to become stronger and more ready for the world.
When they start to sprout and grow, the soil is often still cold and they have to fight their way up, but they persevere, break through the soil, and become some of the first flowers to welcome Spring.
When we live with Fibromyalgia or another chronic illness, we often feel we’re buried in that cold, dark dirt like those daffodils. Worse than that, sometimes we feel more dirt is being shoveled on top of what we’re already buried under. It feels like we’re going to be in that cold, dark place forever.
I know that’s how I’ve felt over the last week or so. Then of course, I shovel my own dirt on my head by feeling guilty for giving in to my pain and sadness when so many people have far worse circumstances to deal with.
Just like those daffodils, though, one day we realize we can see just a little bit of sunshine making its way through the soil, and we climb toward that sunshine. Before we know it, we’re able to turn our faces up into the sun.
Our “blooming” in the warm sunshine may not last for long sometimes, and there may be times we need to just hunker down and take advantage of that dormant state to rest and repair. What we need to remember during those times is that although we may feel as if nothing good is happening, we’re giving our bodies a chance to rest, gaining strength, and maybe even finding renewed purpose through our struggles.
Spreading the Love
One thing about daffodils is that, if left to their own devices, they spread, multiplying year after year.
We have the same opportunity for the impact of our lives to spread. As we learn about our illnesses, encourage one another, and spread awareness of Fibromyalgia and other chronic, invisible illnesses, we’re in a unique position to positively impact the future for others.
Like those daffodils that signal new life after the long, cold winter, we can let others know that there is life — a good life — after a diagnosis of chronic illness. Regardless of our circumstances, we can thrive.
What helps you get through those times you feel you’ve been “planted”? Please share!