Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘illness’

Living Inside Out

Have you ever thought of turning yourself inside out? I have.

My skin covers so much of what makes me who I am.

Do you think what is inside is more important than what is outside?

I have always been told not to judge a book by its cover. But in reality I must admit I am influenced by the cover of a book. I definitely select books with titles that are appealing for whatever reason. I notice the illustrations and the graphic designs even the chosen colors.

If you really share yourself with another person it is almost like letting them see our insides. There have only been a few people in my life that I can honestly say have seen me inside out.

When you are inside out there exists the chance of greater vulnerability. You take a risk. The other person may see what is missing in you. They may recognize your weaknesses. But all is not lost when you are inside out because your inner strength and beauty is also exposed.

I remember thinking it was funny when a small child would put on their shirt inside out. The seams with all their frayed edges and pieces of threads were hanging out for all to see. Those were supposed to be kept hidden inside only to be seen by the person wearing the item of clothing.

Then one day a designer decided to make a fashion statement by purposely marketing items of clothing with the seams on the outside.

Clothes worn inside out became a short lived popular fad. There are just some things that are less than aesthetically pleasing.

I think when you are sick it is a challenge not to live inside out. Eventually your outside begins to reveal what is happening on the inside. There is nothing you can do to prevent it. You cannot hide it, even though initially you may try. Even the perfect seamstress cannot keep the frayed edges tidy.

The more inside out you feel the more intently you must look for abundance in your life. When your frayed edges and raw seams are exposed to the whole world you slowly begin to accept their beauty too. Dangling threads and raveling edges, I confess, are not my idea of abundance.

The gift in living inside out I found with my friend was the challenge to be open about all things. There are some words you must keep in your heart. You cannot tell them that you see their frayed seams. You cannot tell them they do not look like you wish they did or even how they used to look before.

If you love this person you come to a point when you embrace the inside of who they are in spite of their exposed seams. Because what you have really loved about this person has always been inside. True the beauty of the ‘cover’ may have caught your attention initially, but that is overshadowed in time. When you love someone even if they must live for a time inside out; you see their true beauty. For in the end it is only God, the divine seamstress, who can repair all of the frayed edges. God alone makes all things new.

May God bless you with people who see your frayed seams and dangling threads, but continue to love you anyway. May God restore you to true beauty as He sees you.

That is what he has done for my friend…I put my trust in Him.

 

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The Simple Life (pt.1)

 Is the Simple Life the same as Simply  Living?

You can ponder that  question for yourself.

We made the decision that simply living was not going to be good enough in spite of this Simple Life we are now experiencing.

 

There have been times in my life where things were very simple. My convent days were on e of those times. While in religious life I was not very concerned with the material world. Not sure if that is all good or not.

But there is something to be said about a simple life. When you live in an environment filled up with stuff it is distracting and even stressful.

When a terminal illness takes hold of your life you are almost forced to simplify your life. The deteriorating body forces a certain kind of simplicity. You can no longer physically support all that you were previously doing. I witnessed this happen to my friend. She fought with all of might to keep up with all of her commitments, but in the end she was forced to give up most things.

The last few months she began to give away many of her personal belongs. She may not have been thinking at the time about simplifying her life, but that was the reality. Once she gave something away it was entrusted to that person from then on.

Some people might consider uncluttering your life the same as having a simple one, but I am not sure. The amount of livable space you have is also an example of a simple life. The more space you have the more upkeep it requires.

Maybe that is a better way to measure whether or not you have a simple life. How much space do you actually require? It is true that no matter how much space you have your ‘stuff’ will expand to fill it up.

When you are facing a serious illness your space seems to decrease. Maybe it is due to impaired mobility so your space seems restricted. I think of people in a jail cell their space is very restricted. My one room in the motherhouse was very restricted. Living in a college dorm room is also restricted.

Now I am facing another very restricted space. We have been thrust into a simple lifestyle, at least for now.

Can you imagine living in a small simple room like a hotel for a year?

How does one go from 3400 square feet home to one room and one closet?

We are not living off the land…we are not riding a bike everywhere…

We are sharing one bathroom…one closet (not a walk in), and one desk.

The kitchen is the most simple of all. How can I live without my numerous kitchen gadgets? A two burner stove, no oven, but a large microwave…the things you get excited about change when you live a simple life….just as they do when you are sick.

The most exciting thing is the room gets a really good cleaning once a week. These women are wonderful; they clean everything from top to bottom. I can learn how to be efficient just watching them work together as a team.

The Simple Life usually does not include your own cleaning crew…one of the perks.

The kitchen is the most challenging…one small sink, where do you rinse the dishes? …two burner stove top at least it is flat top…no oven, microwave baked potatoes and hot popcorn will be yummy…and about two feet of counter space, this is a real challenge.

I am learning quickly…The Simple Life means you have out only what you are using. This little kitchen does have two complete place settings of utensils…two dinner plates…two salad plates…two bowls and two coffee cups and glasses. A few cooking utensils…three pots…some plastic storage containers and three small drawers (one housing the three pots)…

Take a moment and look around just your kitchen and see how many things you just expect to be there. Then imagine you have only ten items left…which ones would you really need?

Coming in the second part of this post will be pictures and more on my new Simple Life.

With Love all things are possible…

Even the Simple (One Room) Life!