Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis
Gratitude is like a seedy plant; it grows more as it is watered and nourished. -Oprah Winfrey
As I wake up in the mornings to beautiful sunshine and see that it is going to be a glorious day today! I throw my legs out from under the covers, sit up with a smile and reach my arms up to do a long stretch. “Today is going to be awesome!”, I think quietly to myself. As I place my feet on the soft carpet, I pause and think first, slow down, you will get there. I wait for a few minutes, time is passing by, I feel the knots in my fingers and creaking sounds of my knees. “Let’s slow down a little bit more”, the voice chuckles in my head. I respond to the voice and say, “well, we haven’t done anything yet”. I laugh a little bit more as I say out loud, “thank you God for this moment of pain”.
I just want to get up, go to the bathroom, and start my day. The bathroom is about 10 feet from the bed, so I push my feet to the floor in an attempt to stand straight up. It feels like a thousand broken unstable brittle bones in each foot. Each little bone doing its best to help me rise and hold up this tall body of gratitude. Time to step forward on the left foot. Whoops, I am a little wobbly, dang that left foot! Now, I continue to take another step on the right foot, good old right foot is always an over achiever. Right foot says, “Come on, we can do it!”, As I give left foot another try; it is still a little wobbly, but maybe a little less wobbly but still aching with great pain, but now we are moving! Rocking side to side, almost falling with every step, my crumbly looking hands are straight out from my side to help me balance. There! I am really moving now; I have made it about five feet across the room!
As five, ten, then fifteen, now thirty minutes pass; I finally make it into the bathroom to start my morning routine! I feel every pain and every bone move in my hands any fingers to grab my toothbrush. When I wash my face, it is hard to even hold a bar of soap. The sounds of creaking and pains in my knees make me want to sit down to do my morning process, but I don’t. I am so happy to rise this morning. I am so happy that I made it ten feet to the bathroom and now I feel unstoppable.
With my posture a little hunched over, I purposely take every step then try to straighten up a little more. I keep my thoughts on the upswing. The voices in my head now singing, we got this, focus on a happy day. I continue to move as the success of making it to coffee maker is a definitely a winning moment! “Yes! Thank you awesome cup of coffee, just warm my soul and start my motor running”. As the hour has now passed and I am heading to my routine of getting clean, putting on makeup, eating breakfast and preparing for my day, I know I still have about two hours to go to do the smallest tasks. “Thank you”, I say again. I am so gracious for seeing another day and having another chance to accomplish more things. I am so grateful to be able to have a chance to help someone that may need that push, that little budge to get them the next one or two steps in their life.
Gratitude is always in my emotional toolbox. Though I live every minute and every second of my life with rheumatoid arthritis and some moments I feel like stopping and saying, just give me another moment to see if the pain will go away, when I know it won’t. Pain makes me feel like I could just go lay back down and take another day of rest or ask some one else to work for me. I used to wonder why the pain chose me.
Why in the world would I be thankful for the pain? Pain lets me know I am still here. I have another day to fight, another day to encourage, another day to help, another day to love, another day to achieve, another day to share, another day to move in the direction of gratitude.
You may often hear someone saying they are thankful for the material things; the house, the car, the job, and the other nice things they may have. We should be thankful for all things; everything that comes our way makes us who we are. Even if you can not hold it in your hand or see it, be thankful for it. From the beautiful green grass to the warm sand and rocks. Thank you.
Every moment thoughts are making us who we are. You may not see it or hear it, but someone is thankful for you. Someone is thankful for the words you said, or the moment you fought through your own pain to help them through theirs. You may be a student that shared a smile or a laugh with a teacher. That teacher is now thankful that they chose to become a teacher to change lives and to teach life. You may have shared a hug with someone that just thought they were not going to make it through today, and now, they feel they have purpose to continue.
It does not have to be the big things. You may have shared your story of pain and illness and it may have healed someone; it may have encouraged someone to go see a doctor that can help them, it may have let them see that they are not alone. That person that was in pain, is saying thank you for being you and sharing your pain.
Today, someone’s relationship ended. Someone feels out of love and feels alone. You call that person and tell them the pain they are feeling is normal, temporary and will pass. They needed to hear that; they are thankful for you. Thankful for your voice.
You do not have to have money to give someone something to be thankful for. Share your smile, share your story, share your differences, share your happiness, and watch the gratitude grow and grow and become a beautiful path to your own happiness and joy. The gratitude you share with others will come back to you and will ease your pain; lift your spirit and multiply your joy.