Remembering the gifts

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 redwood shadowonset 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?

4 thoughts on “Remembering the gifts

  1. The beautiful fiery red maple leaves on my neighbors tree. Also a young (12 or 13) year old boy stopping to take a picture of a particularly nice sunset. It was nice to see him taking the time to appreciate the evening sky and then to make a comment to me about how nice it was.


  2. My gifts are the aspects of my life of which I am so grateful – my friends, my family, the chance to live the creative life I have always wanted. When my disease makes its presence known, I am grateful for the people I have connected with throughout my journey (you being one of them), that make it easier to bear; small pleasures like my heating blanket, my books, the way the sun shines through the windows on a cold day heating up the room… so many things. I hope you always find beauty in your beautiful life. Hugs.


  3. Lovely post, Wren. I’m the same with noticing the beauty in small things. Today we have a beautiful sunrise, and the autumn berries and leaves are really glowing in the sunshine.


  4. Hey Wren, you are a story teller indeed. I love your visual tactics and giving your disease a physical form in shape of a dragon. Dragons are to be tamed or even better slain. Your valor is sure. Stay the course! I appreciate the lightheartedness when it can be mustered. It isn’t easy but your making it happen. I hope to meet you in Boston this weekend.
    All the best,
    Tina Wesson


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