Today marks one year of the homebound leg of my journey. My immune system is still in recovery mode. The rest of me has continued to gain strength. Gratitude remains the primary theme of my days.
Here are some things I’ve learned in this hidden time.
1. I’ve learned to focus on the present. And maybe the next five minutes. With chronic illness, planning ahead is difficult. So I am choosing to give thanks for what is right in front of me, whether that is simply the start of a new day or the energy to take my hammock to the yard and see the sky.
2. I’ve learned to stop comparing my days. It is tempting to self-check and wonder if this day is better or worse than yesterday. But this just creates a rollercoaster of expectation and disappointment. Each day is a gift from God. With a heart of gratitude and His faithful presence each day can be enjoyed.
3. I’ve learned that the contents of my closet affect my mood. One of the first things I did after learning I would be homebound for an extended period was to take out all the “nice” clothes that would wear to church, work, or an outing with friends. I realized that seeing those clothes reminded me of what I couldn’t do. Today, my closet is filled with t-shirts and layers that bring comfort and joy. And the walls of my closet are covered with pictures of family and friends as reminders to pray and give thanks that I am not really alone.
4. I’ve learned that my struggle with spiritual disciplines is not about time. I wrote about this here. I have all the time in the world and still struggle with the discipline to do the one thing that feeds life to my spirit.
5. I’ve learned to love British crime drama! Netflix has been a delightful companion, especially during the hardest days when I was so medicated and fatigued that I could not read. Binge-watching seasons of TV shows has been therapeutic.
6. I’ve learned to ask for help. As this one year mark approached, I began to feel lonely for the first time. I confided in a few close friends and asked for something that felt ridiculously selfish – snail mail. They responded with grace and no condemnation…and sent their love to my mailbox, taking the sting out of this anniversary day.
7. I’ve learned to love my family more. Their support is the secret sauce to my days. My daughter gave me a year of her life, taking care of me every day, taking me to doctor’s appointments, doing all the meal planning and grocery shopping, even researching autoimmune protocol recipes to support my healing with healthy meals. My son sent texts from afar filled with his love language of sarcasm; and when he was home for the summer, he joined me every day at the table to play the strategy games I love to keep my mind active. And my husband has been a rock of support, his only expectation of me is to do what will promote rest and healing, his words are filled with encouragement, his selflessness inspiring us to all. And he takes me on drives every weekend to show me the world.
My homebound days continue for now. I will keep learning and giving thanks…