Today I am writing on my front porch with a cup of coffee in my hand, looking at the bright yellow mums on the table in front of me. I was given the mums by a sweet family friend and I cannot help but smile when I look at them. Still, today is not an easy day for me. Somehow I feel empty and alone, even as I look at the reminder of friendship in front of me. I think that we expect ourselves to feel only one emotion at a time, as if gladness and gratitude cannot coexist with the sad tears that well up in our eyes. But happiness doesn’t drown out all of our sadness or completely fill the empty places in our hearts. And today I am reminded of that.
On Wednesday, I got a call from my human resources department, letting me know that I’ll be “terminated” from my job this month. My benefits have run out at work, which means that I will be officially unemployed due to illness. In my mind, I’ve known that this was going to happen. I understand that I am not physically well enough to work right now, and I’ve seen this coming for a while. However, my heart held on to the very unlikely possibility of returning to my job. My heart hoped to sit down with a proud teenager and listen to them explain why they are finally serious about treatment. My heart still wanted to have honest conversations with the kids who think no one cares and it longed to be a small part of their healing process. It’s terribly frustrating to be forced to walk away from something because of illness, and I have struggled with the lack of choice I have in this situation. I did not choose POTS, and I certainly didn’t choose to become so ill in my twenties.
This stage of my life is hard, and I am working to accept that. But I believe that there is more to life than the tough moments. Yes, there are days when I feel unsure of my future. There are moments when it feels like I am living someone else’s life, when I am full of doubts and questions. But I must remind myself that goodness can still be found in the hard days, because life is not black and white. Sometimes there is beauty where there is also pain.
So today I push past the idea that I can’t feel both joy and sadness. I allow myself to experience all of my emotions, and I embrace the messiness that comes along with being human. I embrace the tears and the smiles and the exhaustion. And I try to accept that right now my life is full of doctor’s visits, medication changes and blood tests. I choose to believe that goodness can come out of dark places.
I’ll leave you with an example of finding goodness on rough days. Our cat, Cali, usually prefers my husband. She LOVES him. But last night she crawled up on my chest and cuddled with me when I felt miserable (even though S was close by). Sometimes we need to be reminded that there is always something to be grateful for.