It recently occurred to me how much I didn't appreciate the little comforts in life until I lost those comforts. I remember back to a time when my mom was in the most dreadful stage of her journey through Lyme. My mom and I sat in the parking lot of Costco while my dad was inside buying groceries. I remember the moaning and groaning that fell out of my mother's mouth as we sat in that car. Back then I wanted to cry for my mother everyday. My strong, beautiful, incredible mother whose life had literally been diminished to nothing. Where common activities such as going to the store were a rare instance in her life. I wanted to do something for her. I wanted to take her pain away from her. Impossible as that was at the time I tried to keep her spirits up through talking to her and keeping her laughing. Hearing Mom laugh back then was almost like partaking of a breath of fresh air.
As we sat in the car that day I remember pulling out a small little pad of paper as I told her that she should make a list of things that made her happy in order to increase her spirits. After promptly writing my dad's name and my own name at the top of that list I asked her to think of other things. The conversation went absolutely no where from there. She sat there agonizing her pain level and I sat there feeling completely useless. I remember going home that day and writing a list of things that made me happy. I remember that with tears in my eyes, I promptly wrote, "Mom getting better" as number one on that list.
It's really occurred to me in the past month how much I need to appreciate the little things in life. About a month ago I discovered that I had Chronic Lyme. And two weeks ago I began my treatment. It's been a really rough journey. My diet has been diminished to almost nothing. No more chocolate... No more comfort food... No more going out with friends after study sessions... No more dates that involve food. No more anything that tastes good. Not to mention, the things that I do have to eat I detest. Drinking straight vinegar and garlic in order to kill the bacteria that's eating away at my body is a far from pleasant experience.
Sleeping has been a wide awakening (literally). In order for my treatment to work properly I have to sleep with oxygen every night. Yes, that means one of those scary looking machines that disturbs the peace. And those long never ending tubes that I can only hope I don't accidentally strangle myself with while I'm sleeping. Not to mention that I have these two awkward tubes shoved up my nose with the oxygen that burns all the way through my sinuses. It's ironic how oxygen is supposed to help you breathe but when you're on the machine in the middle of the night it feels more like it's trying to murder you in your sleep.
It hit me as a shock to find out that having random shooting pains that go up through my stomach and into my spine are not normal. Feeling light headed as a result of standing up is not normal. Having a heart rate in the high nineties all the time is not normal. Being exhausted and ready to crawl back into bed by the time noon rolls around is not normal. Feeling like I'm losing my mind because my body won't keep up with me is not normal.
Now, I tell you these things not because I want you to feel sorry for me. Not because I want a pity party, and not because I want attention, but because these things are REAL THINGS. It hurts! It's exhausting! It's uncomfortable! It's real. And it's okay. God didn't put us on this earth so we could be comfortable. We were put on this earth to struggle. To experience pain. To feel things even when they're unpleasant. It is through uncomfortable experiences that we learn and grow the most.
Back then, my mom didn't know what brought her joy, but as I've watched her grow and heal, she appreciates things so much more now. As do I. Mom's eyes light up at the sight of a beautiful sunset, and she gets excited simply by spotting a dear in a near by meadow. Hearing her laugh over some dumb joke that my dad told, or hearing her comment on how pretty the changed autumn leaves are is incredible. All of those small little blessings bring her joy. Mom discovered how to find joy in the small stuff, because at one point, she lost the small stuff. And at times, the small stuff is all she had. It's amazing how sometimes the small stuff is transformed into incredible miracles.
For me, I appreciate any moment of sleep I get that I don't have to have my oxygen impaling my nose. I appreciate when I get to school on time even though it seemed pretty impossible because I woke up from my sleepless night incredibly late. I appreciate when a friend asks me how I'm doing. I appreciate a short little phone call or text from a friend or family member. I appreciate every beauty in nature that crosses my path. It's strange to me how people are so oblivious to things like beautiful rainbows, the flap of a butterfly's wings, the beautiful changing fall colors, or gorgeous little rain showers. Those things hold so much depth, beauty, and joy in them. They're a piece of beauty that God so obviously bestows upon us on a regular basis. God's small little blessings are in fact incredible miracles!
Yes, I have Lyme, but it's through the little things that I come to find joy even in my time of hardship. By all means, Lyme Disease does not make life easy, but it sure makes small things beautiful.