Sometimes, when you live with a Chronic illness, it’s easy to overlook the abundance in your life. A few may even tell you that they have nothing to be thankful for. Yet, their perception couldn’t be farther from the truth. We have all had the difficult years. Those that are riddled with flares and setbacks. We have all experienced bad news … followed by worse news. It’s hard to bear. It hurts, in numerous ways. Still, we know that we have been blessed with abundance. And, in our heart of hearts, we are (or should be) thankful … hopeful … even joyful.
“Give and it will be given to you …” — Luke 6:38
Scripture holds many verses on the subject. All are meant to teach and inspire. In Deuteronomy 24:19-21, we are instructed to remember and provide for, “… the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.” Our abundance exists, whether in our fields or on our tables. With that in mind, I want to expand upon the idea. There are countless ways that we all can share our abundance. And there is no better time than the present to do it. This holds true for those who live with Chronic illness and those who don’t.
Nothing helps you to understand need better than to give of yourself, your time and your abundance. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, or a food bank. Take a warm meal to a neighbor who is struggling with mobility issues. Give of your abilities to those who can use your help … rake leaves, clean gutters, have a chat, run an errand, invite the lonely, etc. It’s a small gesture, in the grand scheme of things. But to the person in need, what you do is priceless.
Personally, I have always found that giving of myself helps me to keep a better perspective of my own life. Living with multiple Chronic illnesses can be frustrating. I can’t deny that. But when I am helping others, I see beyond myself. Suddenly my flare doesn’t seem as bad, or as overwhelming as it once did. The additional tests and/or medication isn’t as much of an inconvenience. During these moments, I’ve realized that I’m doing pretty good — I’m managing my illnesses. It isn’t the other way around. I’m contributing to the world around me. I’m doing so many things that I enjoy doing. Other times, I have been inspired by people who are physically less fortunate than me. And I have become even more tenacious … to try harder, eat healthier, etc. My father, a WWII veteran, used to say, “It can always be worse.” This is so true.
So as Thanksgiving approaches, look around you. Embrace your abundance. Be thankful for every good day — for all that you have. Be realistic in your own expectations. Be hopeful. And reach out to those in need. Together, we are in this journey called life. Dare to care!
* Photo by Christopher Ryan on Unsplash