Friday, December 12, 2008

What I Did in the Bed

Hey lovies,

I am still sick. For a few days I felt better, and now I'm wracked with pain. I mean, I may go to the ER pain. I have more ornaments I haven't scanned. Bear with me. Meanwhile, I wrote something on Facebook a few days ago I thought a few of you might enjoy.

Be back soon! Much love,

I was a sickly little girl. I had asthma, really bad. But it never occurred to me, as often as I was sick as a child, that I would grow up and have eight, count 'em, eight, problem pregnancies that would, essentially, make me very sick. I would not have imagined depression or bipolar disorder. I would not have dreamed of fibromyalgia syndrome. Fibro is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But even the worst things that happen have blessings. You hurt and find your life diminished. You wonder if you will be completely disabled. You pray for healing. You give up on the idea of being healed. Your prayers become as basic as, "Let me live to see the kids grow up" and "Don't let me ruin life for them." You wish you could be like other moms. You grieve that you are not. You are certain that few people understand how much you really hurt. Body and soul.

My friend was praying for me during the thick of this. Jesus told her, "I have her in my hands." Jesus did not take away my pain. Instead, he showed me how to share in His own suffering. I wrote about some of it in Wounded.

Still, there are days the shame of such a diminished life stings my soul. There are times I'm truly embarrassed. And times I am deeply afraid. And then there are times that I am urged by all that is love in the world to remember that God loved me in this bed. And despite myself, I accomplished something.

In no particular order, this is what I did in the bed:

I stayed alive.
I continued to hope.
I refused to let go of God.
I met people. Thank God for the net!
I flirted.
I got flirted with.
I gave some smack downs.
I received some smack downs.
I reached out to people who didn't have a lot of love, and gave them some.
I inspired writers.
I became a Godmama.
I wrote several novels. Most of those novels were about people who needed love, and somehow, through a rag-tag bunch of misfits, found it.
I cried with people.
I laughed with people.
I made people laugh.
I laughed at their jokes.
I went shopping.
I talked a LOT to my sister Carly.
I talked to my kids when they crawled in bed with me.
I was humbled by their unconditional love.
I felt sad.
I wished I were a better, stronger, more wonderful person.
I watched television with them, and even helped with homework.
I learned way too much about forensic science.
I sat in companionable silence with my family.
I made love with my husband.
I dreamed big dreams with him.
I ate many meals, some of them were good.
I took a lot of pain pills. Many of them did not help.
I went crazy.
I came to my senses again.
I gave in to the necessity of sleep.
I was gentle with myself.
I was hard on myself.
I made an honest living.
I read books.
I made my first zine.
I did endless studies about the Catholic Church. Thank you EWTN!
I told people who didn't think they could that they could.
I learned how to use that ridiculously complicated Christian Prayer Book, and found untold treasures there.
I fell in love with Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and St. Francis of Assisi, and Mother Theresa.
I fell in love with St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and Therese the little flower.
I experienced the flowering of many friendships, more than I believed was possible.
I came to understand what St. Therese and Mother Theresa meant by doing small things with great love.
I gave up on writing.
I kept writing.
I took business calls.
I did interviews.
I forgave people their faults.
I asked to be forgiven of mine. They are many.
I kept breathing in and out, until I no longer thought about the fact that I was breathing in and out.
I got up out of the bed when I could. And crawled back in it soon after.
I learned what was important.
I discovered the secret of life. It's very simple:
Live and love, with a liberal portion of forgiveness to those who misunderstand you, and for those who outright hurt you, or despise your weakness. When you have so much taken away from you. You have to learn that what those people believe about you just doesn't matter.
I learned to accept my limitations. And do what I do with joy and enthusiasm.

That's what I did in the bed.

tree bed by from


Katy McKenna said...

Claudia, This post means so much to me. You've touched my soul by writing it. I too spend much of my life in pain. In fact, I cannot remember more than a few days in the past fifteen years or so when I did not have significant pain or health issues to combat. And I berate myself for not being a different person---one who's more productive and more cheerful. I'm finding it harder and harder to smile through the pain these days.....Your writing here helps a lot. If I were to make a list of all the things God has enabled me to accomplish in spite of my limitations, it would be a long list, as well. Thank you for showing me the way to look at things the way God does. Bless you, dear sis!

Elysa said...

Love, love , love you, woman, and I love that God of your's. He surely is something else, ain't he?

I'm thankful that He's giving you eyes to see and ears to hear...and definitely a heart to love.

Nedra Smith said...

Wow, you are always an inspiration. Thank you for reminding us that so much can be done, even with limitations. Prayers from VA that you'll be better soon. Have a blessed weekend and holiday season!--Nedra

Elysa said...

BTW, color me ignorant, but what's a "zine"?

WriteBlack said...

This post was so inspiring. I got a little teary when I read it. Thank you for sharing it.

And I'll keep you in my prayers.

Elysa said...

Ooh! Ooh! For those of you who don't know, one of Mair's books just got listed on the Library Journal's Best of 2008 list!

So not only did Mair do a lot of writing in bed, she did a lot of darned good writing. Of course all of her lovies already knew she wrote darn good stuff. But I'm glad that now more people will be blessed by her writing AND hopefully she'll sell a lot more books. Because the more books that are sold, the easier it is for her to WRITE more books! And we all want some more Mair books to read. In fact, can we ever get enough Mair books to read?

I think not.


Deirdre Mundy said...

I just wanted to come over and say "Hi" because I just finished the "Exorsistah" and it was awesome!

(And clean enough to give to the home-schooled teens I know! A rare thing in a YA!!!)

But your blog is great too! We thought about doing a Jesse Tree this year, but the kids are too young and any attempts to haul out the glue gun would result in a near occasion of sin.

So instead we have a magnetic nativity Advent calendar, and my kids are happily rearranging sheep and desperately waiting for Baby Jesus.....

Anyway, thanks for a fun read at a time when I needed a smile!

Elysa said...

Ha Ha Ha! Deirdre---As a mom of 7, your glue gun comment made me laugh! :D

Joni said...

So sorry you've been ill, dear friend. May your Christmas be filled with Christ's love and joy!

Esther said...

I'm sorry you're dealing with such physical pain, especially because of the emotional trauma that goes hand-in-hand with it.

Paula Clare said...

Dear Sistuh,
How sad for me that you accomplished more IN bed than I accomplished OUT of bed! I have a dear friend who has chronic fatigue syndrome and fibro...she has become a prayer fact, I call her "Praying Chris." She naps. She gives herself permission to nap. She prays. And prays. And prays some more...and it occurred to me that her condition affords her time for prayer and little else...what a wonderful, God-full way to live!

Praying for YOU!