As I look back upon my life, I can not remember an illness as frustrating as COVID-19. I come from a generation who endured the mumps, measles, chickenpox and missed the old smallpox epidemic. The diseases of the past were irritating, except for some of the more life-threatening diseases.
I feel very blessed to have gone through a lot less than many people have endured regarding the illness department. I am so aware of those I cared for in the past who struggled with cancer forms or were dying from liver failure. When I reflect on those days of taking care of critically sick people, I feel doubly blessed not to have had endured them.
In my belief system, I feel everything in life is brought into our lives to teach us. My beliefs go beyond the old, “whatever does not kill us makes us stronger” mentality. To some degree, everything in life is a lesson, including becoming sick.
Before I continue to go off into left field, I want to stay true to my title and express what COVID-19 has taught me as an illness.
- The little things in life are just as important as the more significant issues, whether blessings or difficulties.
- Life is too short to complain about anything. We have chosen this ride on earth and can create in this life whatever we desire. If we are not happy with where we are, it is our fault. We can make life be as we envision we want it to be, so why not?
- Love is always higher than anything, and it is our love that determines how much we have in our lives.
- What we allow to stay will stay. If something is irritating, like a scratchy sweater, it is up to us to take it off and let it go.
- Breath is important. No one should ever take a good breath of air for granted. If you smoke, STOP! You WILL get lung cancer or compromise your breath.
- Don’t stress over the little things in life; they will pass just like everything else.
- It is alright to stay in your jammies if you don’t feel well!
- Leaving dishes in the sink is not a mortal sin. They will still be there later on when there is more energy to do them.
- People in our lives have a particular purpose; they are not just placeholders. Find the purpose for every person and do your best to learn from that connection, love despite disagreement, and know you are blessed to have the honor of understanding them.
- Difficult people are not only learning opportunities but are hurting human beings. Give them a break, especially when they are sick with COVID-19.
Aside from the evident appreciation for life, the comments mentioned above are not exhaustive in the least. When it comes to counting my blessings, I have far more than the stars, and they are uncountable. A little giving goes a long way. We all have things in life we have to process internally. We carry baggage. Some of us carry it over our shoulders, some in our hearts, and some are consumed in baggage without even awareness it exists. Burdens are not meant to be held but processed.
If you are dealing with COVID-19 illness, my heart and prayers go out to you; it is not a fun illness. Let God give you strength for the journey and a more healed heart for having been tried in the COVID-19 fire.
Loving you from here,
Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie Howry, Ph.D.