It’s been a rough month. Truly. Some days I had to have a good ol’ cry because it all felt, as a dear friend put it, “too much of a muchness.”
That spider bite really knocked me flat. Yep, it sure did. One of the stranger side effects of the bite is what professionals refer to as “agitation.” For us mortals that means “Feel Anxious All The Time For No Reason.” Dreadful. Nothing takes it away. Not rest, not writing in a journal, not going for a walk or breathing exercises. Nope. You just have to let it do its wretched panicky thing, week after week, and try not to take it personally or give it validation or let it send you on fruitless rabbit trails of introspection trying to get to the heart of the anxiety.
Thankfully, on Tuesday this debilitating fog of pain, exhaustion, and anxiety finally began to lift. Instead of stumbling along through my days just trying to do the next thing before I keeled over, I could actually think again, focus again, and, the best part of all, feel peaceful and happy again.
I wanted to run to the nearest mirror and shout, ” WELCOME BACK!!!”
Each day the symptoms ebb a bit more, the peaceful state lasts a bit longer, and I’m so very, very thankful.
Before the ebbing began, I was quite discouraged, frustrated, and plain ol’ tired. As I wrote out to a friend what I was feeling, I typed the words, “So I’m just trying to take heart and do good.”
Take heart and do good.
Even as I typed them out I began to smile. This pain, this awfulness, it wouldn’t last. I knew there would be an end one day. And in the meantime, I could just focus on doing good. Good to me, good to Bear, good to our animals, good to the people I came across.
Funny how these things come to us just when we need them most.
They came to me the day I took Bear in to the hospital for surgery. After I got him signed in and kissed him good-bye I thought, “What good can I do right now?”
It was 7 a.m. on a winter morning and I knew immediately what I needed to do. I needed to get outside. To see beauty and breathe fresh air and just be.
So I drove to Queen’s Park in Toowoomba, packed up my breakfast, book, and journal, and went for a walk.
I could not have asked for a more exquisite morning. Out of nowhere, Spring had arrived. There was no frost, no icy wind, just clear blue skies and a world flooding with light as the sun crept up through the trees casting magical shadows and giving a rich, golden hue to everything it touched.
I found a bench bathed in sunlight and settled in to watch the park wake up.
Joggers, walkers, and cyclists hustled past on their morning constitutional, nearly always accompanied by dogs who made sure to trot over to me for an ear scratch and a hello.
Magpies and galahs toddled about in the dewy grass looking for morsels to eat.
But me, well, mostly I just soaked up that glorious light, basking in the warmth and delighting in the novelty of not being cold.
I tucked in to my own breakfast – boiled eggs with salt and pepper, tomato salad with lime Dijon dressing – and figured that the only thing that could possibly make this moment more perfect would be a hot cuppa. I’ll remember that for next time.
In between bites I read a bit more of my book and scribbled away in my journal, marveling at how wonderful it was to have no deadlines to meet, no appointments to make, just time alone in luminous beauty. Even spider-bite-anxiety is no match for such utter gloriousness.
In time, when all the words were written and the pages read that needed to be read, I packed up again and strolled back through the park, my spirits restored.
On my way to pick up Bear I knew just what I wanted to “do good” for him. I stopped at a deli and got fresh bread, triple cream brie, Italian salami, and unsalted butter, some of our favorite things to celebrate his successful surgery. He loved it. We had a scrumptious picnic in our motel room, then settled in for a cozy afternoon of movies and naps.
Take heart and do good. What a difference they make during hard times.