The Jewel in the Ashes
It’s finally Spring! The daffy-dills are up, fresh asparagus dominates the produce section and here in Utah, we’re almost to the end of the late-winter blizzards! (I say almost, we’re expecting one tomorrow, when I’m supposed to be moving. Sigh)
I feel a little silly writing what I want to share with you today, but I think I’ve discovered the secret to everything. To being happy, calm, to feeling closer to God and to recovering from stress and illness. Not that it’s a secret or anything, but I’ve never let it in before now. I can’t believe it’s so simple and so radical at the same time.
Before I rip the curtain off this one, here’s what brought me to this point:
All my life, I’ve felt robustly healthy, even when I was overweight or stressed. Lately, I can’t concentrate, my head hurts, I have no energy even though I get my eight hours. I can’t stop eating, my creative output is near zilch (and, uh, sorry about the whole not posting thing) and my depression and anxiety were getting out of control.
I don’t feel like myself.
I visited a doctor who’s an MD, but also a naturopathic doctor who synchronizes physical and emotional healing. After a bunch of lovely blood tests including a glucose test (by far the worst experience I’ve ever had in a doctor’s office, gynecologist included.) In addition to the emotional stuff I already knew about, it looks like I have a couple nutritional deficiencies, a dairy allergy (waaaaah!) and extremely low glucose levels. Apparently, I should have gone into a coma before that test was over, but because I didn’t, my body’s probably been struggling with this for a long time. Sam even called me in the middle of the test and asked if I was drugged.
The bottom line is, my glucose levels and other symptoms are signs of adrenal insufficiency, which means the adrenal glands don’t produce enough of the necessary hormones to cope with stress, which explains why I feel so…depleted.
While working with this awesome doctor and reflecting on the chronic stress that brought me to this point, I had an epiphany:
When we think of the things we’re thankful for, what are the first things to pop into our minds? Friends, family, freedom, food (wow, that’s a lot of f words), but do we ever think of being grateful for the seemingly bad things in our lives? Believe me, I’ve never been very good at this. I don’t do well with change or pressure and I tend to yell “Uncle” at the first sign of discomfort, but when I stop, who would I be without my trials? The most important lessons I’ve learned were the results of struggle. Life is difficult for a reason. I’ve never before mentioned religion in the blog, but as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (it’s a mouthful, I know) I believe we were put upon this earth to gain knowledge, experience and the wisdom that it brings, and honestly, how wise would we be if we were never tested? How can we know love, happiness, or progress if we’ve never experienced the opposite?
I had a hard time wrapping my brain around this, so I wrote them down in my journal. Be grateful for the unpleasant things.
I’m thankful for the people who were cruel to me, so I could learn to love them anyway.
I’m thankful for stress, because I can now learn to slow down.
I’m thankful for weight gain, because I’ve learned to love my body.
I’m thankful for my newly-realized food intolerances, because I can learn to keep food in its’ proper place.
I’m thankful for illness, because now I can learn to be healthy
I’m thankful for winter, because I can feel the difference of spring
I’m thankful for tight finances, because I can learn to love the simple things that cost nothing
I’m thankful for depression, because now I can learn to be happy.
I’m thankful that God didn’t remove these trials when I asked him to, so I could learn all these lessons, plus patience.
I’ts amazing how my perspective has changed just from learning this one truth. This really isn’t something someone can learn until they’re truly ready, and even though I grew up hearing about the importance of gratitude and learning that life is a test, or a school as my doctor puts it, I’ve never truly comprehended that until now, but it’s true. It really is true.