If I Were Preaching, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sabbath

Something(s) At Which I Do Not Excel

Something at which I do not excel is resting.

This is a pity, since on the four point plan for people who have Rheumatoid Arthritis, #1 is Rest. The other three are Exercise, Medication and Positive Attitude. You really can't do #2 if you're having symptoms, or rather I can't if I'm having the symptoms I'm having right this minute, which seem to be particularly focused on my right knee and the ball of my right foot.

This leads me to another thing at which I do not excel, which is admitting it when the RA is getting the better of me. Truly, I've been very fortunate since the whole thing began in the spring of 2008, because ever since I got on medication, I've felt mostly pretty good and rarely has the disease caused significant, well, dis-ease. The summer of 2008 was tough, as I tried to adjust to the medication (see #3) and attempted to cultivate a positive attitude (#4) in the midst of all the fears natural to a person learning she has a chronic illness. 

But after a summer season of job searching and various stresses, my joints felt pretty craptastic, and I have been doing my utmost to rest this week. 

To achieve that I have to turn it into a Type A challenge. It's not enough to simply collapse into a little heap, as I like to say, but I must also declare it to be Heap Week. And then count off the days. And hold myself to a schedule of being mostly unscheduled. 

Something at which I do not excel is resting.

Maybe it's due to the influences of verses like these:

"Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour." (Luke 12:35-40, NRSV, part of this week's gospel lesson)

Really, wouldn't they be inclined to make you hyper-vigilant? 

I said from the beginning that I feared having to sit quietly under a tree, just smelling the flowers, and I have been lucky, since that's my fear, that I've mostly been able to keep going, with a few modifications to my lifestyle. I've had to give up my love affair with the fourteen hour day. 

Yes, I really just wrote that. Those were my favorites, the days that began super early and went on well into the evening. Did they make me feel important? Necessary? Alive? I just know I thought I was thriving on them. 

But they're gone as a regular feature in my life, and I suspect that actually makes me a person who is more ready rather than less. 

I hope so.

Even though resting is something at which I do not excel.

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7 thoughts on “Something(s) At Which I Do Not Excel”

  1. A recommended read to tuck in to heap week or some later incarnation of it: Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. McAvoy (sp?). It’s a lighthearted fast-paced (slightly dated) detective thriller about a grandmotherly woman who is trying to learn to be “zen.” (I am NOT implying that you are grandmotherly, only that you might enjoy the “trying to be zen” thing. Also, the dragon.)

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  2. One of the things I have been dealing with in my own life falls into the general category of “how to behave in a way that is pretty much opposite to all my instincts.” Yeah. Not a thing at which i excel.
    Ironically, “Heap Week”? I would be the CHAMP. I am SO oriented towards the rest and relaxation. Yeah, the 14 hour days are kinda cool (I had a 12 hour one this week… does that rate at all?). But rest is definitely something at which I excel.

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  3. I agree, you don’t do well in sharing the fact that you have RA. Even after a BE event, I didn’t know. But chronic illness is a pain and only livable when you have friends who ignore it with you and remind you of rest, exercise, meds etc.
    Prayers ascend, Songbird.

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  4. Well, I’m no bible scholar, but it doesn’t say in there that you can’t be lying down reading your Kindle while you’re dressed for action and waiting, etc.

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  5. I’ve been gone, but now am back and wanted to say hooray about your new (about to be) call. Hooray and blessings as you attempt to rest up a bit!

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  6. one of the frustrations of RA is others’ perceptions. not sure if you’re experiencing this too, but i don’t look unwell so their expectations of me and my capabilities are often unrealistic. and i’m not into repeatedly running through the lowdown of diagnosis/description. that’s an issue for me. plus the constant comment is that i’m too young. i agree – at whatever the person’s age – we’re too young to feel this old!
    and trying to figure out how to exercise at a beneficial level when you feel like every move is damaging yourself !
    my prayers are with and for you, songbird …

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  7. Oh, I suppose it’s part of the process really. Knowing you have it is one thing, acknowledging that if you don’t take care of you, it will, is another thing entirely. Blessings to you on learning to rest dear friend. I know it’s hard, but knowing you, it will be nicely incorporated into your normal. ;c)

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