Hello! I’m delighted to start off this Monday with my first Beliefnet Blog. Health, wellness, spirit and faith are all potent subjects, so there’ll be lots to talk about here. And, I hope to hear from you, too, as the days, good or bad, and the blog unfold!
Speaking of days…What is a “good day” to you? One where everything hums along from the moment the alarm goes off to when you reset it for the next day?
Or, is a “good day” something altogether different? Different because you have a chronic illness or pain, and that puts an extra layer of awareness onto every waking (and sleeping) moment?
I’m well acquainted with good and bad days. I have organ- involved lupus and a host of other serious health conditions, as well as degenerative disc disease and scoliosis. So, precious commodities like energy and stamina can be relatively “okay” one day (or hour) and completely sapped the next. Or, there might be a string of bad days, when each step is an uphill trek.
Explaining “good days” and “bad days” to someone healthy can be very challenging. The difference for we who have chronic health issues is that those problems accompany life’s general ebb and flow. We can, for example, get stuck in traffic just as a healthy person does, but with the added complication of horrific pain punctuating that frustrating stop and go. Or, we might truly enjoy the wedding and reception of a dear family member one day, only to have our pain exacerbated the next, turning that precious good day into a tough tomorrow.
One of the hardest things about living “good days” and “bad days” is finding balance. On good days, when spirits are high and energy flows, it’s so tempting to try to pack in all the things you need to do that day and others, when you weren’t so functional. The result is, of course, that you overdo and end up having an even worse-than-bad-day because of it (can I get a witness?)
Another challenge is that, on really bad days, we might not venture outside at all, or answer the phone or respond to email. So, when people see or hear from us on our good days, it might seem as if there’s nothing at all wrong with us (this really rings true with those of us living the blessing and the curse of invisible illnesses). We might be taken for “faking it,” or at least exaggerating the extent of our health challenges. Oh my, that alone can turn a good day into something much different!
Handling the days as they come is a constant work-in-progress for me. But on each day, I stand on faith, a faith that is rooted in God’s love, Christ’s presence, and the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. I start each day, whether good or bad, with prayer and prayerful centering, asking God that I wll have the wisdom to know how to move throughout the day in a healthful, positive way.
I go easy on myself on the days that start off with, say, a debilitating migraine or other symptoms that I know will hamper me for hours. There’s no sense heaping stress upon stress in situations like those. I try to pace myself (tho this is still a work-in-progress!) and find creative ways to support rather than undersmine the things I try to accomplish.
Each day, no matter how good or bad, I also try to find something, maybe only one small thing, to laugh about. There’s nothing like good, honest laughter to boost a flagging spirit! (And it helps exercise those abs, too!)
The constant comfort and encouragement of faith bolsters praise on those glorious good days and protects us when the going is hard. A strong spirit can move mountains, even if we can’t move ourselves out of bed! And, in all, God never fails.
Yes, we all have good days. We all have bad days. But, most importantly, the are OUR days, and with prayer, focus, encouragement and determination, we can find in them peace, joy, grace, and God.
Blessings for your day,