Sunday, February 10, 2013

On Self-Discipline, Courage, and Rambling

Dear John,
 
It's been a nice, rainy Sunday. It's getting easier to go to church as more time passes - today it was much less painful than it's been. I know people love me and worry about me when I'm not there, and I love them and miss them. But it's been so painful to go without you. I don't know how many times I've gotten up, dressed, and ready to go, and at the last minute couldn't make it out the door.
 
And in that vein, I've realized how much self-discipline and will-power it has taken for me to keep going. To get up in the morning, go to work, do laundry, go to the grocery store, pay bills, go to church. My response to pain this great is paralysis - you know, curl up on the couch, watch bad television, and eat PopTarts.
 
I had to keep going the first two months because the girls were coming and I had to have the house ready. When they were living here, I was accountable to somebody. When they moved out in early December is when the self-discipline was essential because I was on my own. It helped to have the dog to look after and to have had several months to form habits, to set up a life without you.
 
It still takes so much effort to do so little. Self-discipline is the easier part for me. I am anal-retentive. And I was raised in a different time and place, and taught high standards for homemaking. I'd never dream of leaving the bed unmade or not cleaning up the kitchen. Somewhere inside I'm afraid that letting those standards slip would immediately cause the planet to descend into anarchy and chaos. Courage is harder, and life seems to be requiring an enormous amount these days. The financial position is a large part of that. But there are lots of things that are scary - all that's involved in living the rest of my life alone.
 
Look at the chat rooms, blogs, and Facebook pages and you'll see how much self-discipline and courage it takes to live with fibromyalgia. Unremitting pain and exhaustion are hard to live with. Living with it alone is not unusual - over 75% of fibromites are divorced within a year of diagnosis. But it's hard not having you to lateral to on the days that I just can't function, and your unconditional love. 
 
I have to conclude several things. I am more self-disciplined and courageous than I thought. It's no wonder I've been tired. It was okay to give myself the freedom to loosen up the standards on food and exercise. It was okay to say no to things that I didn't think I could handle. My job is as much of a godsend as I've always thought it was. And I have received an abundance of God's grace this year.
 
Logically, all of those things are still true - it's all in the perfect tense, to dig out my Greek. The only thing that changes now - I hope - is that I'll feel less guilty about not being perfect. (And yes, I just felt that Gibbs-slap from you.) I'll try to give myself some credit. Just because most women go through this doesn't make achieving survival any less commendable, maybe even laudable. (The back of my brain just came up with other, unprintable words. Those, too.)
 
I've rambled for a long time. Thank you for listening. And thank you for believing in me, for never doubting my ability to survive. Thank you for always having more faith in my than I've ever had in myself. But then, I did the same for you, didn't I?
 
Love you more than I can say,
Joan.

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