Like most people, I was always proud of what I could juggle and how many balls I could keep in the air at once, while making it look easy. Most of us also know that living with Rheumatoid disease changes that.
One by one, I’ve had to put down things I’d rather have continued. I remember the moment when I could no longer quilt. Or knit. And the last piece of furniture I refinished, my rocker. My shoulders were bad at times, but my hands only ached. With medication and rest breaks, I pushed through it. It’s hard to tell you how glad I was to be able to get that done. Every other thing was set aside so I could accomplish it.
That’s the same way it was with the ACR meeting last fall. Emails, laundry, and other balls just dropped and rolled. More than the (extreme) physical difficulty, I just could not keep other balls in the air. It’s like RA itself takes the place of several balls, reducing my capacity. Or maybe RA just ties one of my arms behind my back so juggling is a bit of a joke. Probably both – RA is such a damn bully.
Sometimes it seems more like dodge ball than juggling. My son’s swollen finger, my several-months-long bladder infection, and countless other things like the avalanche of medical bills are obviously unwelcome balls flying into my circus ring. Then there are the balls that are very WELCOME like opportunities to speak or write about RA, letters I long to answer, friends I want to talk with.
Honestly, last week just adding the flu was enough to make me fumble every single ball. (Hear crickets chirping here on the blog?) But it was Bear’s birthday and I somehow helped Katie Beth to make cake and wrap presents. Thank God for Amazon.com! This week is Tiger’s birthday and we’re doing it all again!
Yes. I miss being able to juggle a dozen balls and wink while doing it. But this is my life right now. It’s infuriating to have a disease that never takes a day off – coming up on 6 years now with no break in flare. Maybe I’ll always grieve the things I can’t do. But I’ll also tell you that the little victories are extremely sweet. Whether laundry folded or a little blog post – or making one of my kids smile – I’ll savor any accomplishment!
Maybe I’ll always feel a little guilty about all of the balls lying around on the floor like deadlines I miss, my House Not-so-beautiful, food that spoils in the fridge because I bought it hoping I could cook it yet couldn’t. However, I will grow in grace and let God teach me more about mercy. No matter how much we think we’ve grown, our hearts can always be expanded.
Postblog: Please watch this video and think about attending G5 in March! You’re invited!