Skokie, IL where Bill is being treated for his cancer.
It has not been a good week. Because his defenses are down from the chemo, Bill ended up in the hospital with a nasty infection that is highly contagious. I thought I caught it, too but it turned out I had old-fashioned stomach flu. At any rate, I couldn’t go to the hospital to be with him so I ended up moaning in my bed at the hotel.
In the midst of lying in bed feeling lousy, my thoughts were dark. I wondered why so many people have to suffer. I wondered about spirituality and how it fit into all of this. And I wondered why the hotel couldn’t use sheets with a higher thread count.
Now that I am feeling MUCH better, I realize yet again that it’s all about where you place your focus. Maybe spirituality is as simple as:
- Being grateful that, when I couldn’t take care of Bill because I was sick, providence intervened and put him in the hospital where someone else could; or
- Celebrating the incremental victories: no more nausea, then no more diarrhea, and finally, a return to health so I can get back to caring for him; or
- Thanking people like your sister-in-law Anne who went right to work researching the infection and coming up with solutions beyond the conventional medical ones.
There seems to be an underlying synchronicity to life that, once noticed, is pretty amazing. For example, I am glad I got sick because until I did, I could not fully empathize with how Bill feels. Maybe the term “fully empathize” is incorrect. As poorly as I felt, I’m pretty certain he feels profoundly worse on most days. I also think I was sorely in need of a break and the illness gave me permission to take one without feeling the need to push myself, knowing that Bill was safe in the hospital.
In an email to a dear friend, I bemoaned the fact that I had been neglecting my spiritual practice. She quickly fired back saying, “What?!?!? Your day-to-day life taking care of Bill is a spiritual practice, and a profound one.”
So maybe spirituality in its truest form lies in the service of others. Sure, it’s wonderful to meditate and feel a true connection with my Source Energy. I believe it to be one of the most delicious things in life. But nobody is stopping me from experiencing that same connection every time I prepare a meal for Bill, make sure he’s taking his vitamins and medicines and just going out for a ride together. Well, actually someone IS stopping me—I am.
Or…maybe spirituality doesn’t require one to do anything at all except notice what is beautiful about life in any given moment.
What do you think?