Posted by: cmittermeier | August 4, 2016

Healing isn’t the absence of what causes the ill

In the clearing stands a boxer,

And a fighter by his trade

And he carries the reminders

Of ev’ry glove that laid him down

And cut him till he cried out

In his anger and his shame,

“I am leaving, I am leaving.”

But the fighter still remains — Simon and Garfunkle, The Fighter.

I do love my nieces and nephews!  Thought I don’t spend enough time corresponding with them, I do try to keep up with their lives and when the moment allows, to enter more fully into their daily lives.  One is convalescing right now, and knowing they live alone, well, I’ve taken it upon myself to invade their email box daily with a check in and virtual hug.

Today, I decided to write differently.  I wrote my thoughts in story fashion, pretending as if we were actually together and I could quietly ramble on at their bedside for a bit.  I decided to post it for you, because in this big journey of mine facing the reality that till I die I will be moving from battle to battle can be disappointing – but when we pair it with pondering our own immune system that does exactly that continually, it becomes a peaceful thought instead of a fearful one.  

Yes, I will be battling pecan tarts and apple pies, ice cream and banana spilts… But, my “immune” system will continue to grow as well allowing me to fight back.  Set backs become like colds, a short lived, temporary state where the bug is bigger than my fight. I am the fighter who still remains, as the song quote above says.  Here was my story letter that I sent… Enjoy!

“Morning,” I whisper quietly as I pop my head in the convalescent room. “Just wanted to check in, sit with you for a bit. Maybe pat your hand as you rest. Being sick is yukky, so much of the time you just have to slug it through with nothing to do that can speed it up. Usually there’s lots we do that lengthens it out, push too fast too quick, eat stupid stuff, so many ways to make it worse, yet so few to speed up healing and nothing can make it go away forever.
“One of the things I have found interesting to ponder is my own immune system, and how it reflects the spiritual reality so well. You see, so we get a bug attacking our immune system… Our body attacks it, kills it all of, right? Nope. Not fully. There’s always stragglers that hide in our body, waiting for the opportune time to try and strike again. Just like the enemy of our souls – he’ll attack and withdraw till an opportune time returns to attack again. Our bodies do learn how to recognize the attacks though, and it can often fight back squelching the attacks so well that we barely even notice we were fighting something. But the fact is, we are always fighting them.”Every bug that took us down, they are always there. Physical, psychological, spiritual, we never heal so fully from them that they go away for ever. Even if something bizarre were to occur and they were to totally leave,  our bodies carry reminders of them for ever – our immune cells are both our history and our present.  

“Healing, well, it’s not about returning to a state without the injury/infection. It’s about regaining a new life that will not be ruled by that injury/infection because it just isn’t possible to go back to a state before that injury/infection. Straggler bacteria from every single infection that laid me down (and many I never fully got attacked by) live in me constantly.

“It’s important to ponder this, because the false expectation of complete healing creeps into all areas of our lives. We will always be fighting the same nasties. Our job is to cooperate with our immune system to keep it in fighting form so that, like our heart, it keeps on winning the fight and keeping us going.

“There now, you need to drink a bit more, eat a few things that help your system fight optimally, don’t slow it down by garbage in. Go back to sleep now, I’ll be here when you wake up again. We can watch a movie while I sort socks, but now, go back to sleep. Our bodies fight best when we relinquish control and let it do its thing.”

Forehead kiss, hand pat, I stand up and quietly leave the room turning off the lights.

Aunty.

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