It’s a day of weariness and pain today. They’re becoming more frequent. I may need to brave the outdoors to return to the chiropractor for the network spinal treatment that has been so helpful in managing this illness. In the mean time, today I came to a standstill, then found a way to move forward, gently.
Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 50
It’s been a practice I developed with the help and encouragement of the first network spinal practitioner I saw, in Adelaide: not to stop entirely, but to keep moving forward, so that even resting and pausing is a moving forwards, a nurturing of growth and life.
Today I slept in a bit, stayed in bed for a while longer, out of bed being cold, and muscles feeling inflamed and achy. I got up eventually to have my fruit smoothie breakfast part one, and sat in my chair listening to the daily short cut to the news podcast, The Squiz.
After a while, I realised I had not moved from my armchair. I was browsing social media sites, replying to emails, but not really engaging in anything demanding much thought. This is also, it seems, a slow day for the thinking, so writing the sermon and finishing the worship outline for this week’s worship at home wasn’t going to happen today.
I could have written the day off for any work or achieving tasks and ticking things off the to do list. No one would have minded, or possibly noticed, and a day of nothing but rest might also have been a good choice. Instead, I considered my to do list, and identified a few things on it that wouldn’t take much energy, physical, emotional, or cognitive.
I got a coffee and my croissant second breakfast, and brought my laptop, personal and work journals out from the library.
I typed up a blog post I’d written by hand some time ago, and scheduled that for posting next week.
I typed up a poem I’d written by hand, and found enough creative energy to edit and polish it into something better.
I read the papers for our Presbytery meeting this Saturday.
Reading an email from one of our Presbytery ministers, I found the words we needed for a note in the congregation newsletter about not gathering even with the easing of restrictions.
Sending emails back and forth and answering a phone call, connections with a couple of colleagues, drew me out of myself enough to instigate a couple of pastoral contacts, which gave me joy.
All of this, sitting in my pyjamas in my wingback armchair in the garden room, looking out towards green, and that blue, blue sky.
It was a change of scenery for the doing of the work things. I chose easy tasks, some creativity, and some connection with people. I took the energy generated by doing the easy things to do some more things.
My arms are now very sore from typing for a couple of hours. My legs still ache, though they’ve been up and rested. But my mind is a little clearer, my heart a little lighter, and I am ready to get up again, find some lunch, and maybe even move to the chair on the porch for some sunshine this afternoon.
Many people experience Chronic Fatigue as completely debilitating, so you can’t get out of bed, and it’s been that bad for me a few times over the years, it and/or Depression. With help from health practitioners and the cultivating of helpful practices, I have found a way to keep moving even while it looks like I am sitting very still, to be present with people, even though I am safe in my hermitage. I am grateful for that, and today feel a little bit proud of having made choices that have nurtured health, wellbeing, productivity, and joy on a day I could have given over to less (remembering that another day, that might be the best good choice to make). Today, a day of weariness and pain, I have found a way to smile, to connect, to produce, and the rest this afternoon will be all the more effective and enjoyable.