The Secret of Contentment

For 25 years, I live a life of total discontentment.  I was endlessly frustrated with myself and my situation, regardless of what that situation was at the time.  I always wanted what I couldn’t have, even though, often, I didn’t know what it was that I didn’t have.  I hated myself to such a degree that I refused to allow myself to experience joy, because I didn’t deserve it.

May 28, 2013 changed everything.  Not even the day, but a moment in the day.  

In the 18 months leading up to that day, my health had gotten progressively worse. 

In the 6 months before the day, my meds were not working, the result of which was several-times-a-day all-out rages at the people closest to me.  I trashed my friendships and my relationships within my family.  I was downright impossible.  I didn’t even want to be around myself.

The week before that day, I spent in the psych ward, following an intentional overdose.  I wasn’t kidding.  I couldn’t stand to be within my own skin.

The stay on the psych ward fixed nothing.  In fact, it caused infinitely more problems, such as the beginning of accusations of faking my illness,  than it solved.  

And, in a moment, I realized this.  Are you ready?  This is what changed my entire life…

My situation is not my fault, but I am the only one who can change it.

I realized this while still inpatient.  And then, on May 28th, 2013, as I returned to my much-hated room in the nursing home, sat on my bed in tears, and began to unpack my things, I half-thought, half-prayed that enough was enough, and I needed to stop crying.  

And then I stopped.

And, by the time that bag was unpacked, I was fundamentally a different person.  My angry, bitter, self-absorbed heart became radically altered.  Suddenly, I found myself with a heart that knew just how special and how blessed and how loved I am, and, from that, how to experience joy.

You can call it whatever you’d like, but I call it healing and I know Who healed me.

That was five months ago, as of today.  I have since cried three times and felt bitterness exactly once.  I can honestly say that I spent 99.99% of my time in deep awareness and gratefulness of my blessings and the fifty-two thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight reasons to be joyful in each day.

Maybe you’re thinking things have gotten easier.  To this, I say:  Tuesday.

I didn’t sleep at all Monday night.  I left at 7 AM Tuesday morning to go downtown where I went under anesthesia to have my feeding tube changed out.  I had a communication issue with the doctor that, previously, would have been enough to send me freaking out.  I currently have an inflamed nerve on my abdomen that is excruciating.  My stomach hurts constantly, as usual, my muscles frequently spasm (like a Charley horse), and my joints ache deeply.  I had a migraine after anesthesia.  My hormones are whacked out and I’m more than a little malnourished.  I found out that the nursing home failed to reorder my tube-feed formula, so I would have to go a week or so with no protein… surviving on crackers and popsicles for a week, folks.  My roommate was blaring the TV, so I couldn’t take a nap.  I was exhausted, in a ton of pain, and starving. 

So, the resident in the room next door was being incredibly dramatic about an insulin shot.  I have had nearly 50,000 insulin shots over the last 22 years.  I learned to do them myself at age 6.  I am hyper sensitive to pain, but even for me, insulin shots don’t hurt.  So, all those sources of pain, and this guy is screaming “ow ow ow ow” over an insulin shot.

I wasn’t having it.  I vented my annoyance on Facebook. 

And then I realized that, if it’s “big” enough that I’m annoyed, then it’s “big” enough to pray about.  As soon as I connected with God, I realized that venting was really unnecessary and not a great response to the situation.  Resting in the Lord, not to mention closing my eyes and resting myself, was the right response, and, quickly, I was back to usual self.

What is my usual self these days?  I am a ball of excitement.  I get excited about kitties, about anything pink, about the chance to wear a hat, about picking which shoes to wear each day, about putting on clean socks, about getting the mail and moreso about getting personal mail, about doing school work, about stitching, about getting out a new thread color… and every other moment that can possibly induce any amount of joy.

The excitement just bubbles over.  I act like I’m going to Disney World when the Goose exposes her tummy or I get a letter in the mail.  All blessings, every one.

God is good and life is good.  With a change of perspective and a dose of Divine intervention, I promise that it’s possible to find true contentment in any situation.

This isn’t remotely what I sat down to write about, but, there you have it.

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