“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Thursday, May 14, 2009

ME/CFS Awareness: Hidden Blessings

Sometimes, it's so easy to see everything you are missing when you have CFS. So, in a rare moment of quiet contemplation, I came up with a few blessings I have now specifically because of CFS.

1. A clean slate. It is exactly the fact that I can't keep up with my old activities that I get to start over. Before CFS, was I doing things because I loved doing them? Because I "had" to? Because it was expected of me? Because it was habit? Because it was an escape? Now, my functional time is precious, and I have much more stringent requirements before an activity even makes the list! I am choosing to remake me.

2. Permission to say "no." There is no pressure to agree to do something that I'm asked to do. I have to be honest with myself. If it is not physically plausible, or if it crowds out something of greater value, I get to say "no!"

3. Less doing, more becoming. I like the word "becoming." It has no beginning, no end -- it's a process. With so many activities stripped away, I'm left so often alone with myself. Am I happy with what I see? What do I embrace? What do I want to change?

4. Discovering hidden strengths. Faith, strength, patience, courage. Some I knew I had; others have been a surprise. This is an amazing opportunity not only to recognize but to use those strengths.

5. Becoming creative. I've seen this in other people with CFS, too. Perhaps it's all that internalizing that taps into it; perhaps it's a need to express the upheaval of your life. Maybe it is even because you have to become creative just to enjoy life! Discovering my creativity is a fun process.

6. Ability to find joy in the tiniest things. I can't believe how much I missed before! Lying in bed, listening to my boys play together, hearing their giggles. Walking outside and feeling the sunshine on my face. Being nearly asleep, but waking when my husband reaches across and kisses me so tenderly. I never had time for these things before.

7. Relying on others. To someone who is proud and independent, this does not immediately seem a blessing! But to be on the receiving end of love and service is something that stays in your heart and is treasured forever.

8. Relying on the Lord. My strengths pale in face of this enormous challenge. I am all too aware of my weaknesses and failures. I can see the hand of the Lord comforting me, strengthening me, and making it up to the people I love when I can't be everything for them.

9. Learning, learning, learning! Emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, physically -- every day brings a new lesson, something I never knew before.

10. Gratitude deeper than I could have expected. For true friends, for good days, for knowledge and understanding, for small kindnesses, for my family, for my faith, and for a million things more.


Renee said...

This is absolutely beautiful, Shelli. It has given me pause and incentive to look at the blessings that have come into my own life of illness. You are a very insightful person and I am so glad I found your blog and have the chance to read what your share here.

Sue Jackson said...

What a wonderful list of blessings, Shelli! I've been working this week on an essay about the silver lining in living with a chronic illness, so I've been thinking along those same lines.

Very well said -


Dusty Bogwrangler said...

This is so moving. I hadn't thought about why we seem to become more creative after CFS strikes. Is it a bit like losing a sense such as sight and other senses becoming enhanced?

Beautiful, thank you.

me/cfs warrior said...

Wonderful post! Thanks for the reminders. I too love finding joy in the tiniest of things.

Bluebirdy said...

"Shelli are you a member of Rest Ministries and/or their Sunroom? The owner of Sunroom is looking for blog posts exactly on this subject this week! She will feature your blog with other bloggers who wrote about the same subject. Every couple of weeks she changes the subject and features blogs that write about that subject. go to .

Sue Jackson said...

Hi, Shelli -

I was pleased to hear you wanted to reprint my blog post from Awareness Day. Since this is about CFS, please use my CFS blog as the link. Thanks - hope you're having a good week.