Wednesday, February 1, 2012

what I've learned from pneumonia.

So I've been living with pneumonia for a whole week now.  It's pretty exciting stuff!  I've started back to work in the mornings and am grateful to not feel so "bump on a log"-esque.

It is frustrating because even though I'm feeling heaps better, I still have to take it slow.  Pneumonia is the kind of thing that can come back to bite you if you rush it.  When a person has pneumonia, their immune system is very weak, so it's very easy to catch anything and everything that others may be carrying.  All of these things mean that I have to continue to take it easy and rest for awhile.

This reality in my life has taught me the following things:

1.  I am terrible at resting.  Just bad.  I never thought I was!  I've felt guilty about not getting things done.  My roommate moved out the day before I got sick, so my apartment is in massive disarray.  (Can you imagine having to "rest" for several days with that?!)  I missed a conference over the weekend and a handful of other commitments and projects.  It is hard for me to stop and let the world go by without me.  The past few days, I've put "nap" on my to do list.  This is how I make rest happen.  If you need to do this to get there, you should.  It has been liberating to see that it still does and not everything requires my control or effort.

2.  Things can wait.  I found myself getting a bit overwhelmed a few times in the last week.  I was overwhelmed about what I was missing, what needed to be done in my apartment, at work, other projects I want to work on, etc etc.  I had to remind myself that it can wait.  It'll either get done or it won't.  I can only do one thing at a time.  So for this week, I've given myself a goal for each day--1 thing to accomplish in my home and 1 thing to accomplish at work.  I hope to do more in my morning at work, but it keeps me honest about when I need to go home.  I don't need to do more than this once I get home.  I could spiral into a cleaning machine and as much as I would love that, it wouldn't be good for me right now.  Today I got the fridge cleaned out (and took out the trash--two for one.  Cut me a'd get stinky!).  Then I made myself stop, even though the floor was begging to be mopped and all those crates need to go to the basement.  Another time, another day.

3.  I thought I was really good at taking care of myself.  Hahahahah.  So wrong!  I was mindboggled for a few days as to how my immune system could be weak enough to get pneumonia (an infection where bacteria sneaks into your lungs when your immune system isn't looking).  I thought "yeah..I'm healthy!  How could this happen?!"  As I read about things that can strengthen my immune system, I realized, "no..I'm pretty terrible at taking care of myself."  From the time I got home from Nicaragua until I got sick, I hardly slept, I ate all the worst things, I didn't exercise (for the exception of some night skiing....yeah...didn't sleep that night hardly at all), and I was under a heap of stress with work and my roommate moving.  I was shocked!  I'm doing better on all accounts but exercise, at the moment.  The breathing thing is still an issue, but I want to do better with that when I feel better.  My point is this: I thought I was a healthy rockstar who could do all of this stuff without consequence.

Proverbs 16:18:  "Pride goes before a fall."

Yeah, there's a reason that's in Scripture.  I didn't even know I thought I was invincible, but according to how I was living, I totally did.  That must change.  Bodies are fragile things.  I have learned this.

I'm hoping that you can learn something from my sickness, too.
  • Rest is important.  It's one of the biggest ways to keep you from getting sick.  Not to mention, God mandates Sabbath in Scripture.  Yeah, He knew what He was talking about with that.  The Third Commandment is God's gift to us--telling us, the world will go on if we take a day off.  It's for our own good.  We desperately need it to live and live well.
  • If you need to put things off to rest, do it.  Things can wait.  So many things can wait.
  • You are not invincible.  It's best you learn that now.  You are but a breath.  Bodies are fragile.  They must be taken with care.  Be a good steward of the body God has given you.  Ask Him for help with that.

Rest well and be well, my friends.