Self-Care Tip #133 – When you are hurting, remember why you want to live, and live more purposefully for that.
My daughter has a viral upper respiratory infection. She is laying on the floor in her sleeping bag that has the stuffed puppy dog head for a pillow. She just wants to be near me today while I work. She wakes up and coughs, I check her out and dose her if she’s febrile. She goes back to sleep. Awakens. Trundles up to drink some mango juice, water, eat 3 noodles, comes down again and lays there, pink in the cheeks, red eyes and chafed upper lip.
Sometimes when one of the kids is sick they stay home if I’m here. It usually stresses me out but I’ve been getting better at believing more that we can take what comes and still get the work done. Today, in-between patients, I laid down beside her. Face-to-face. She leaned in, opened her eyes and smiled!
She is one of the most delicately framed little people I know. My nuclear family has never had small bones so this must be from someone on my husband’s side. My daughter swung that tiny arm, warm with fever over my neck, put her face on mine, and fell asleep.
Lying there, thinking I’m so glad I could do this for her, suddenly felt wrong. It flip-flopped over in my mind and I realized that I was glad. But for me.
Having her near me while I work is a connecting force. To both of us but maybe more for me. My family has been exchanging this virus for 2 weeks now. It hasn’t been hell but it has not been a delight. Yet here I find myself delighted. I wonder how long I’m going carry this gladness around.
Come what may in this world, it is these surprising moments that convince us about the rest.
In psychiatry, I’m required to ask each patient if they have thoughts of wanting to die. Then I ask, “What do you want to live for?” That catches some people off guard and I’ve gotten looks that could defend anyone in war. But we aren’t at war and eventually they tell me why they want to stay alive another day.
I am often amazed by good things that come out of bad. Knowing that, gives hope. But it also gives purpose and we can choose to angle ourselves more purposefully towards that rather than passively. We can choose to live for the reasons we think worth living for.
My husband prays, “God please turn my posture toward you today.” I’ve always loved that.
Question: Why do you want to stay alive? What are you living for? Please tell me your story.