Nothing puts you in touch with your body as much as when your body is not working well. Sickness and infirmity remind us of our frailty, our mortality, our physicality.
Yesterday, I had an allergy attack, my first one in five years. It’s quite shocking how quickly I had forgotten the icky-ness of allergies and gotten used to behaving “normally” when outside.
Here are 10 things having allergies has taught me:
- Everything I do has a consequence. Whether I choose to sleep with the window open, ride my bike under blooming trees, or stretch out in the grass for a nap — I will pay for it later.
- Breathing is precious, vital, and should not be taken for granted. The inability to breathe out of my mouth and my nose makes me ever aware of this most basic of involuntary activities my body regulates without my conscious choice.
- Life does not stop simply because I am unprepared. (Read: I cannot go anywhere without Kleenex.)
- Quick fixes are not long-term solutions.
- Sometimes there is nothing you can do to fix a problem or change a circumstance.
- I am capable of making choices that affect my body’s well-being. It’s up to me whether those are positive or negative effects.
- My body deserves my attention and care, even when it is inconvenient.
- All things in moderation. Sometimes when we try too hard to fix a problem, we overcompensate and make everything worse.
- Being aware of my own infirmity creates the opportunity for more compassion towards others who struggle with chronic physical ailments.
- How I react to my situation is a choice. Having that choice is an opportunity for growth. Having the opportunity for growth is a gift.
How has physical infirmity influenced your body theology?