Advent, Psalms, Rheumatoid Arthritis

I Don’t Want Them

This afternoon I saw my favorite little neighbor, dressed up in a purple snowsuit, ready to go outside and enjoy the snow save for one thing: she would not put on her mittens. "I don't want them," she declared, and she was perfectly clear in her desire not to wear them, though her mother and I encouraged her.

There is a certain level of resolve in the average child of two-and-going-on-a-half, and adults may often fail at convincing them to want what they don't want.

I'm the same way, although I am 47-and-a-smidge-more-than-a-half. I don't want to take my medicine, often. I count out the various pills once a week and put them in a handy round container, which I keep on the kitchen table I use as a home office, and then regularly cover them with a book or that copy of the New Yorker with the cartoon of Obama interviewing puppy dogs.

"I don't want them."

Tuesday is my day for the weekly methotrexate, and I always have to talk myself into those eight teeny little pills, or bribe myself with butter on my oatmeal, because–

say it with me–

"I don't want them."

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,*
   we were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
   and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
   ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’

The Lord has done great things for us,
   and we rejoiced.
23

4Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
   like the watercourses in the Negeb.

May those who sow in tears
   reap with shouts of joy.

Those who go out weeping,
   bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
   carrying their sheaves. 
(Psalm 126)

That's what we want. We want the joy and the sheaves, the playing in the snow and the renewed health. We just don't want the mittens and the pills.

"I don't want them."

I don't want to need them. I want to be well without them. I want to avoid a queasy stomach or the occasional mysterious fatigue, just as my little friend wants to touch the snow and feel its miraculous texture without freezing her little fingers.

My little friend will learn that some joys are best appreciated with the mittens on, and I recognize every week that I would feel worse without the pills, and so I take them. I do feel better, really, because it would be hard not to feel better than I felt last spring. I'm appreciative of what medicine can do, when it works, when you find the right thing. It's the underlying situation I don't like, and that's the one God won't take away. My little friend wants to play with the snow, but it's the nature of things that uncovered human hands need protection in freezing temperatures.

It's our hearts that need healing, our metaphoric hearts, an inner disposition that says, "Yes, I want to wear the mittens if that means I can play in the beautiful snow," an inner disposition that says, "Yes, I will suffer the side effects for the overall benefit to my health, and I will try not to be a baby about them."

I do want that.

17 thoughts on “I Don’t Want Them”

  1. I tried Nutella on my oatmeal today. No word yet on whether that was enough of a bribe to mend hearts.

  2. What a beautiful meditation on the push/pull of Things that are Good For Us. I hope you find your balance.

  3. What a lovely reflection. I get that way sometimes, stubborn about not wanting to do what I should. And you’re right, it’s because I don’t want to accept the underlying reality.
    Hugs to you.

  4. That’s my girl! Stubborn as anything. Thanks for interpreting the experience in a helpful light. Yes, we are ALL stubborn and independent, but can’t she just wear the mittens! 🙂

  5. Hah! I hear you….I have to bribe myself with brown sugar and raisins on my oatmeal, but its all for the same purpose….(SB)

  6. \Love you and admire you for the lack of whinges and tantrums around the “I don’t want them” axis.
    Hugs to go with this morning’s pills ((Songbird)) xxx

  7. A lovely post. I took methotrextate for five years, and well know that feeling. (Now I take humira every two weeks, and last time around I put off the injection for a day or two longer than I should have, because…all together now…I didn’t want it.)

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