Monday, February 2, 2015

Chronic Philosophical Ramblings

I just saw a documentary that gave me a piece of the puzzle.

It was about Sharon Stone.  She is not a great favorite of mine, but she’s certainly OK (I like her better since seeing this show).  I like some of her work, not so much other parts.  Anyway, this was Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class.  Talking about using your own life as a classroom for yourself.  And Sharon was sharing her insights of what her life has taught her.

She said one thing that really caught me.  She said that at one point, she knew that she was enough.

That hit Hard.  Imagine thinking “I am enough”.  No outside validation is needed.  No extra props are needed.  Not to be LACKING anything.
I am enough.  

For those of us who are Chronic, this is Mind-blowing.  For so many of us, the main battle we fight, even more than our disabilities,  even more than for survival sometimes, what we fight for most  is MEANING.  That We have Meaning.  That our Lives have Meaning.

But that’s just it.  We ARE meaningful.


We are complete, just as we are.  We are full human beings.  Our lives are meaningful, partly because they have to be, partly because we make them so.

The stereotype of a Chronically Ill person is that they are drab and dreary and boring.  Many of us are fairly isolated, so you might think we are unhappy.  But that is not necessarily true.  Many of us have chosen to be otherwise.  We have chosen to be meaningful with our lives.  And sometimes that’s easy for others to miss.    

But allow me to enlighten you about the majority of Chronically Ill folks.
We are wise.  We are funny.  We have marvelous insights.  We see things in a different light.  We love to laugh with others, not at them.  Because of our disabilities, many of us are forced to look at the minutiae of life with new eyes.  We know what it takes to wash a dish, to make a bed, to keep a job, to raise healthy & loving children.   And even if we ourselves cannot do such things, we respect and honor those who do.

Because of what we have faced, we value kindness, thoughtfulness and consideration.  We value things that make the world a better place without taking away from others.  In fact, what we value Adds to others.

Yes, having money would be nice. Having the freedom that money can bring would be lovely.

But I don’t really care if my friends have money, it makes no difference to me.  I don’t value anyone because of their incomes.  I don’t think better of someone because they have cash to spare.   I don’t think their opinions are more valid, their thoughts are higher or their way of life is more fulfilling.    I don’t think they are better people, just because they have Money or Health or both.  And I don’t think they are any the less, either.   They just are.  They exist, like poor people do, like middle-class folks do, like the educated do, like the uneducated do, like the very talented, like the very humble.  We all just are people.  No one group is more valuable than another.

No, I take that back.  There are those whom I value very highly.  And valuable folks come from all of the above-mentioned groups.

I value the person who laughs in delight at sunrises, who marvels at waterfalls creating rainbows, who giggles at hummingbirds flying backwards.  I value the person who is thoughtful and sincere and honest.  I value the person who cares about others.  I value the person who tries to be the best that they can be, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.  I value the person who wants to be happy, who wants to be happy so much that they actually take the steps to enjoy life wherever they are.

And because I can no longer work, because most of my life is spent in bed, I have the time to appreciate others.  I have the time to listen to their stories, to hear their struggles and laugh with them at their foibles.   And it doesn’t stop there.  I have the time to realize how amazing trees are when the wind is fluffing up their leaves.  I get to experience how beautiful moss is when a rock gets adorned by it.  I get to enjoy the antics of squirrels as they play tag within tree branches.   I get to open my doors and watch Feral kittens explore my room and find out the joys of soft pillows and bouncy sofas.

As I lie here, I am listening to the snoring of two small dogs, and I can hear the Feral kittens who have just discovered catnip mice.  The sun has snuck through the window and is fingering the pattern on the mock oriental rug.  The blind dog is trying to ignore the wild kittens playing with his tail.  I get to notice that, because I am bed-bound and I am here.
I’m not saying this is The Way to live.  There are millions of ways to live that give meaning and worth to who we are.

I’m just saying that this way of living also has value, it has meaning.   Someone should See and Notice wonderful things.  Someone should have the job of marveling at friendship, at beauty, at Peace.  It adds to the world when we see these things.  It creates the possibility/probability for more.
And anyone can do that.

We are complete.

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