For some reason, all my owies are on the right side of my body this morning. The ring finger of my right hand. My right elbow. The ankle and large toe of my right foot.
Who knows? Maybe I slept funny on that side during the night. The window in my room is on my right when I’m in bed; coolness flows in through the narrow slot I leave open for fresh air. Did the cold set into the joints? Not likely. And I use my right hand more, but that doesn’t explain why my foot hurts.
This is one of many baffling things about autoimmune rheumatoid disease: it causes pain in random places in the body from day to day, and sometimes even from hour to hour.
Fortunately, today’s discomfort is merely that: discomfort. It’s not disabling. As long as it stays muted at this low level, it won’t slow me down much, if at all. What it will do, however, is remind me constantly that I have this disease that won’t go away. It’ll make me vaguely apprehensive as the day goes on; with every sudden twinge or briefly amplified ache I’ll wonder if this is the one that signals the onset of a far more painful and disabling flare.
I’ve always tried to counter this low-level fear by going out of my way to notice the small beauties—the gifts—the world offers each of us every day. At the moment, for me it’s the delicious coolness of that draft of fresh air, and the shadow of the redwood tree’s branches the morning sun casts on the wall. The branches are moving gently in a light breeze, which is another gift. It’s been so unseasonably warm and still for the last week or so, a cool breeze that moves the air and tickles my skin is like ambrosia.
Noticing the gifts helps me keep things in perspective as I cope with my cranky dragon—and life’s other everyday problems. Noticing is a way to snap myself out of worry about the future (which I can’t predict or control anyway) and back into the present moment, the place I’m alive in here and now. Mindfullness—such an overused word these days, but a good one nonetheless—gives me a feeling of peace. And while it might not last for more than a few minutes or moments, I believe they make my life fuller and more rounded, and absolutely more joyful.
What gifts have you found today?