For having a chronic illness, I don’t get “sick-sick” very often. When I do, I get knocked flat on my butt! That has been the theme this past week. All self-induced, all worth it. Last night as I headed to bed for my night sleep, I was full of gratitude. The day had been a little piece of heaven minus the actual feeling like death part. It made me think about how my attitude really does affect my quality of life as well as how I interact with others and the world around me.

I usually do not get acute illnesses because I do normally slow down, rest more, check my nutrition, take pro-active measures, and increase fluids at the first indication a bug is trying to attack.

This situation was a little different this time as I started to feel the first signs of “the yuck” on Sunday night, but my son’s birthday was on Monday and we had promised to take him camping and do all the fun things that went along with it. Basically I knew from the start that I was about to be wishing for the sweet release of death in days to come, but my son is totally worth it. I still don’t regret it one bit. So Monday, instead of slowing down, I pushed full speed ahead. Mind you, this is something that would already wear me down quite a bit since camping combines all of the things I love plus two things I have been advised I am not supposed to do with my form of dysautonomia, being in the heat and being heavily physically active. Yep, revolver in hand, I knowingly shot myself in the foot.

Still, totally worth it.

Camping was full of firsts for my son. He had the time of his life.  He even caught 11 fish. I knew that it really meant a lot to him and it is one of those experiences he will hold on to for the rest of his life. The universe even gave me a little bit of a free pass. I am not sure if it was the excitement of seeing my son having such a great time, sharing in something that I love so much, or if it was divine intervention, but I wasn’t miserable during the camping trip. (I find that when I at least try, things like this happen all the time in my life!) Come Tuesday night, however, I could tell that I was in it.

And it hit.

I spent most of Wednesday in and out of bed, coughing, my nose a faucet, aching all over, hot, cold, both at the same time, just YUCK! Drinking tons of fluids, doing what I could to naturally support my immune system, napping every couple hours. I still worked since I am blessed enough to work from home, but you better believe, anything high stress went on the “do not touch with a 10 foot pole” list.

Mental, physical, and emotional stress can all take a toll on your immune system in a big way.

Luckily, I was responsible enough to stay in just in case it was one of those caring and sharing bugs that likes to bond with everyone you come in contact with. It was a very friendly bug in deed. My fiance woke up yesterday and spent about 4 hours out of bed all day.    1 of which were with his GI doctor who wouldn’t even touch his GI stuff until he was better. I felt a lot better than the day before, but I still felt like something that could be found on the bottom on your shoe on a summer day.

Then it hit me.

As I was taking a break from work (another non-emergent stressors can wait day), laying in bed nuzzled up next to my fiance, it hit me.

This time, this moment, this action, this is what I long for. This is what we don’t have all of the time in the world to do. I NEED to appreciate and cherish this moment.

It didn’t matter that we were both ill. It didn’t matter that we didn’t really have a choice in whether we would accomplish much of our “to-do”s that day. What mattered, was in that moment we were doing what we always say we wish we could do. We were laying in bed most of the day, appreciating each other, just cuddling. It may not have been the way I had imagined it, but it was there. I was living it.   It almost evading me completely. I was too wrapped up in not feeling well, trying to make sure I was taken care of as well as him.

I returned to finish my work with a whole new outlook. It was the most peace I have had while working in a while. I wasn’t rushing to get everything done, I wasn’t ahead of what task I was doing by 2 or 3 steps, I was just focused on doing the work I was doing at that moment.

That’s how life is.

It is when I am too wrapped up in trying to figure out where I am going, what I am going to do, what I need to do, that I miss out on the moments that are right there. That I miss out on life. On those little pearls that may not be what I expected, or what I imagined, but still absolutely perfect.

Sometimes it takes catching a bug to realize just how important it is to slow down. To surrender. To fully embrace your situation and find the joy in it. The joy in it? Who would have ever thought I would ever describe being laid out as a little slice of serenity?   Definitely not me.

Today I am going to choose to wrap up this experience, put it in my pocket where I can carry it with me always, and hope that it doesn’t take another nasty bug to make me slow down and find the beauty.

Today I choose to surrender to life.

Where have you found profound life lessons in unexpected situations?  I want to hear about it in the comments below!

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