Sometimes, it takes small things, say microbes, to lend a person a greater understanding of life. Perspective can get adjusted when little changes impact a system.
Namely, I am in the midst of fighting off, with Hashem’s help, some bacterial complications of a bout of viral bronchitis. In the least, superficially anyway, the entire business has been unpleasant. At most, it has been instructive.
Beyond the fever, the inflammation of tubes in both my upper and lower respiratory system, and the pain concomitant to that inflammation, there’s been the feeling of defeat. I lost at having my life run in the way in which I thought it ought to run.
It is in that loss, though, that the gift appears. I’ve been presented with an opportunity to view my comings and goings from a new angle. Without actually leaving this existence, I’ve been empowered to separate what I do from who I am.
I’ve had to cancel classes and to push off deadlines. To some editors and publishers, I’ve had to say “no thank-you.” To my children, grown or nearly grown, I’ve had to ask “please,” rather than to offer “would you like.”
What’s more, both in my professional and in my personal life, I’ve had the chance to see the difference between “fair weather” and other sorts of relationships. I guess it’s better to be disappointed now than during a more serious juncture. It’s nice to know certain constants remain true, too. More exactingly, the sorts of interpersonal considerations that a full life affords, an individual, the rationale to skip, come to the surface when one is ill.
Additionally, since, so far, I’m seeing the side effects of certain of my medications and slow, if any results from others, I’m left existentially where I started; only Hashem heals. At best, our doctors’ insights and our interventions, pharmaceutical or otherwise, are given to us with his Blessings or not at all. Life and death and gradations in between always have been, always are, and always will be per His determination.
I believe I will get better. The culprits were caught before I experienced a new pneumonia (an issue, which I have had to cope many times in the past). My job is to rest, to sweat, to drink copious amounts of liquid, to drug up, to steam, to rest some more, and to release my imagined determination of the results of life.
Truly, what I think I can and what I think I ought to being doing with my days and nights is none of my business. My current work is embracing my limits, voluntary or otherwise, and being grateful, literally, for each breath. Perhaps part of the illumination of any darkness is the comprehension that such light ought never to be taken for granted. Perhaps part of the illumination is that the light shines at all.
Whereas I wish no one suffering, I do hope for all of us that we continue to gain insight from small differences, rather than from large ones. I pray that our personal states of peace derive from raindrops and sunshine, not from crazy weather patterns.
In the interim, I embrace my germs. Through their unwanted cellular patterns, I’ve been granted wisdom on a cosmic scale. I’ve been invited to make peace with what is currently in my realm, rather than with what might be.