As we age with chronic illness, we gradually realize that our bodies and often our spirits enter a prolonged change of season. In Southern California, the change of climate from winter to spring or summer to fall can be so subtle that you might miss it. Elsewhere in the country, the seasonal differences are more pronounced And I think these unique ways of viewing the weather (and leaves changing color and temperatures lowering or rising) can be applied to our seasonal selves, too.
In the spring of our illnesses, we often feel good and hopeful energy – perhaps a brightness that believes we’ll overcome any physical difficulty. Then, as we approach middle age and we realize the reality of life with a chronic (ongoing) illness, we might feel as if we’re slowing down. Perhaps depression sets in. Perhaps we fe3el heightened frustration or anger. And then, there’s winter. That old time when medications don’t bring the relief they once did, or the side effects from them begin to set in more pronouned than the illness that they’re treating. Then we might become even more grounded in the chill of reality, almost as if our spirits are being overshadowed.
Looking at the seasons we might experience with illness and thinking about weather-borne seasons I think we can glean some insight. First, seasonal change is inevitable and there are tangible things we can do to prepare. Snow’s coming? Bring in supplies, decide how you’re going to clear the walkways. Colder air? Bring out the bundling clothes, the warm and fuzzy slippers, the comfort.
The next insight is tied with the first. Yes, seasonal change is inevitable, but it is actually part of a cycle that comes full circle and moves on again. So, we might “cycle” from warmth to old, but as we learn to cope with the “new normal,” we then recapture ways to feel more hopeful and to build renewed strength.
And the third insight that I’ve learned is that no matter what the “season’of my illness, God is present throughout. I might be cold, He brings warmth. I might be snowed under, He digs me out!
As autumn arrives, think of God’s constancy and His message of love
Be heartened! Have hope!