EMBRACING DIMINISHMENT

Most of our lives we look forward to each stage, to being a teen, a young adult, an adult, a retiree. Seldom do we think about what we must give up to move on to the next stage. Even retirees don’t think much about the diminishment that accompanies passing into an older stage of life. We can only think about the freedom to do those things that being tied to a job does not allow is to do. We want to live life without restraint, without the demanding sense of daily responsibility and pressure that accompanies our assigned tasks. 

Eventually, however, our bodies and sometimes our minds tell us that we have passed into old age. Not old, old age, but the early stages of old age where a certain amount of diminishment is common. It slows us down a bit and we notice that it slows us down more and more as time goes by. For many, this only means slight adjustments. For others, things happen that send them abruptly into what seems like old age as we commonly think about it. The normal slow pace of growing into old age allows us to make incremental adjustments so we do not perceive the limits of our life with alarm. However, there are those who due to an accident or serious illness jumps into old age by leaps and bounds.

I was one of those persons. Critical illness threw me into old age and I had to face serious diminishment that I did not slide into but that I was thrown into. There are times when the illness or injury is so severe that one welcomes death. I have been there. I am not afraid of death but I have a strong instinct to live, so in my case, I kept coming back only to face the diminishment. It becomes a matter at this point of the quality of life.

So, how do I live with a decent quality of life when the proportion of diminishment is quite high? I took it on as a challenge, and I have every intention of regaining as much of the quality of life that can and that has become the content of my daily life. 

Did God cause this? No, I don’t believe so, but I think he allowed it because he knew the benefit of the fight to regain health. It is truly good for me. He believed that I could handle it and so far that has been the case. Suffering and pain have taught me much. The struggle to regain health has taught me more. I am at peace with my circumstances. 

And, I am grateful to be alive to experience the joys, the love, and yes, the pain. It comes with the package!

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