Frustration is part of the chronic illness package for me: living with an uncooperative body is not easy. I’m guessing that frustration is a big part of your life, too, at times.
Whether we’re living with an uncooperative body or an uncooperative mind or an uncooperative person, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the things in our lives which we can’t control.
I thought my frustration levels were lessening over time, thanks to the “acceptance strategies” my counsellor had taught me; but after my Forgettable New Year’s Eve I realised that acceptance comes in waves — a bit like grief comes in waves. Just because the battle has been won once does not mean we are forever immune to new bouts of despair!
At the epicenter of my anxiety attack was frustration. A knowledge that I simply can’t achieve all I wish to achieve, due to ongoing limitations that are outside of my control. I’ve lived with this frustration for years, though; and I’ve made plenty of progress in my ability to be content. So why this sudden, overwhelming sense of urgency?!
Maybe it’s a bit like needing to pee during a road trip or a movie: You can hold on for a while – although some of us can’t hold on for too long. But when you finally approach that toilet door, the sense of urgency skyrockets! Have you noticed that? (I thought it was just me, until I saw a hilarious comedy sketch about the phenomenon.)
I’ve been holding on for years, harnessing my urge to do more paid work. I’ve been careful to limit my daily activity, as a way of maintaining stability in my health and in my family. Now that some opportunities have presented themselves to me, and I sense that God is providing a new type of work – one I can manage with my low stamina – I feel like I’m about to burst!
Tugging at the Leash
We had two pet dogs when I was a child. I remember being puzzled by their lack of common sense: Whenever we took them for a walk, they’d pull at the leash so vigorously that each pant sounded like a cough. (The leashes were necessary, as our dogs were prone to dashing in front of moving cars.)
It was an awful grating sound, and it was loud. It had to hurt! But they kept doing it! Every time! Almost choking themselves with every step forward; foolhardy in their unfettered enthusiasm. We used to joke that it was actually the dogs who were taking us for a walk.
On New Year’s Eve, with the prospect of having (just a tiny bit of) work back in my life, I was enthusiastically pulling at the leash until I could hardly breathe. And, many years too late, I finally had some empathy for those funny family pets of the past!
To be continued…
Read the next installment of my Forgettable New Year’s Eve story.
OVER TO YOU!