Thursday, February 15, 2018

As I was being wheeled from the ambulance to the emergency room, my friend looked down and admonished me, “If only you didn’t smoke, you would not be here now.” For a moment, I bought into the blame. Soon, I would find out that the chest pains and shortness of breath were the result of my immune cells killing off red blood cells, inflammation in my heart and fluid in my lungs.

When I got home, I added my own unique version of blame. My condition was my fault because I didn’t take good care of myself. Like many of us, I headed off to the health food store to find a natural way to get better. I bought the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing and hunkered down to make a plan. But there were no answers there for me. I reflected on my life and lifestyle looking for clues, looking for somewhere to lay the blame.

If my condition was not caused by smoking and was not caused by lifestyle, then some relatives surely donated faulty genes. I went hunting in the medical history of the family tree. Nothing.

Why me? What caused this? Could my disease have been prevented? Is the universe punishing me for not being good enough? We try desperately to make sense out of the unfathomable. We can languish in the quicksand of why for the rest of our lives. Struggling in quicksand takes a lot of energy. Sooner or later you can struggle no more. We don’t have energy to spare.

Do your searching and when you are done, let it go. Whether you are ill because of something you did or did not do, whether you inherited bad genes, or whether you believe this is some kind of divine retribution does not matter in the end. You have what you have. I have what I have. What matters is what we do right now.

The question isn’t why, it’s what’s next!

(c) Linda Ruescher 2018 from Life Recycled: Creating a New Normal in the Face of Chronic Illness (to be released April 2018)

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