From "Have To" to "Get To"
So two months ago I got sick with normal allergy stuff like I usually get a few times a year, but because of my schedule that week, I couldn't rest and by the time I was able to stay in bed for a whole day it had turned into pneumonia. And I'm not gonna lie, when I first got the diagnosis, I thought it was funny. It just seemed absurd that I had pneumonia. A good friend and I were even joking with the waiter about it at dinner the night of my diagnosis. Obviously I had no idea how serious pneumonia is because I kept going on with life as normal, I just figured the cough would go away like it always has with bronchitis. It really did feel like an extended asthma attack that would go away after a day or two of meds.
But the cough stayed, and honestly there were times it was literally scary because I couldn't catch my breath. Living alone in a cute little basement studio, it got to the point where I wanted to call someone to come over and help me, but I couldn't catch my breath long enough to make the call, I was very close to having to stay with someone so I could have some help. Before getting pneumonia I had never really thought about people who were on long term bed rest or in nursing homes. Coming from hearty stock, my people live on their own for a very long time. It's normal for me that grandparents in their late eighties and mid nineties live on their own. Before my grandpa died, he was still living on his farm at 99. All that to say, I've just never been close to anyone who has had an illness that forces them to lay in bed for a long time. I know my time of bed rest was only weeks, but it opened my eyes and my heart to those who are forced to live that way. I can't imagine.... Another thing that happened as a result of being sick is I don't to ever take working out for granted again. Having always been on the thick side, then a heavy smoker for a while when I was younger, being healthy is something I've had to work hard for as an adult. And as we all know, when we have to work for something, over time there is a drudgery that develops and joy is scarce. Don't get me wrong, once I'm outside I love a good jog, and especially love going up the local mountain here in town. But it's the getting up early and actually putting on my shoes and getting out the door where there blahness of it happens. I often felt like the Dunkin Doughnuts guy: "Time to make the workout." But after being out of commission totally for so long and now being in the process of building my lungs back up to a place where they can actually jog for 40 minutes again, I have a new love of working out because it's not something I have to do, but something I get to do. It's gone from a "have to" to a "get to." I also realize this applies to pretty much everything in life: the difference between a duty and a gift. Even my time with God goes through seasons of this, especially when it comes to set aside prayer/study time. I am a morning person so usually try and start the day talking to God and reading His Word, but then there are these seasons where picking up my Bible feels like drudgery. The alarm has gone off and the dread sets in. When I say it out loud it almost sounds like blasphemy that I am dreading talking to my Heavenly Father, but that's because my perspective is out of whack. I've allowed it to get out of whack, but like jogging, once I engage in conversation with Him I'm reminded of the precious gift it is to be able to talk with the One Who Knows Me Best. There is a joy and peace that settle in my heart that is indescribable. So in the end, I am thankful for what I learned on this little journey of being sicker than I thought possible because my heart learned so much I never would have been able to know to otherwise. And I pray that with each day, no matter what life brings, I approach every relationship and opportunity as a 'get to" and not a "have to"...