Sympathy for the Way Ill

I have a few friends who have consistent health issues. These are things that impact their lives every day, and that often create a cycle of even worse health. For example, they develop a chronic illness and are physically unable to exercise. Over time this leads to things like gaining weight, which causes more systemic issues, and there is simply no opening for them to begin doing things that can make them healthier.

I have still never experienced anything like that. But I felt that last year I gained a little empathy for people about whom I might previously have judged for not making changes in their life. For a while I had a bunch of colds and persistent sinus infections, and bronchitis for perhaps a few months. Most of the time I continue to run when I have a cold, and I've been fine. But for weeks I kept having horrible coughing fits after exercising. I began to suspect a form of asthma, and my doctor did refer me to a pulmonologist. Eventually I got better, and decided not to go.

When things happen in my life that I don't like, I do sometimes try to think about the purpose for them. I believe in God, and that He directs my life if I allow it. And I believe that regardless of whether a given trial is from Him, or caused by my own choices or the choices of others, I believe that they can be turned to our good. In this case I gained a little more empathy for people who have long-term health issues, which I think makes me a better person. (Note that that's a relative measure, not an absolute statement.)

Anyway, a little perspective shift now and then is always good. And maybe if I learn some lessons well enough I won't have to repeat them.


)en said…
This freakish flu season has gotten me all kinds of paranoid and hyper conscious of my own health (even more than before). You can bet I read every article saying stuff like "healthy mom of two gets flu, dies three days later." But also I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called Unrest about people with chronic fatigue and it pretty much shattered me. I felt such an enormous sympathy for people suffering all over the world with this inexplicable and extremely debilitating condition and also an intense appreciation for my own state of health that allows me to get out of bed every day and stand on my own two feet. But also apparently it can be triggered by a random virus, often one with flu-like symptoms and then it's here to stay, soooo yeah. Add that one to the paranoia list.
Joel said…
Also, strokes. And brain parasites. Lots of stuff that can strike with no warning.

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