Learning to live strong from feeling weak

Wednesday morning I woke up and started my daily routine. I did some stretches on my mat where I noticed I could just barely touch my toes. It wasn’t completely out of the ordinary, because I am rather inflexible but my body felt weaker than usual. I didn’t think much of it as I began preparing my coffee. While impatiently waiting for it to brew, I suddenly felt a wave of nausea rush over me and the sharpest back pain I have ever experienced. I felt like I had been run over by an 18-wheeler that had come completely out of nowhere. Now I will admit that I have a rather low pain tolerance when it comes to illness, but I knew something wasn’t right. I was in the fetal position on the couch; unable to move when I realized it might be a good time to give my doctor a call. They had me come in to rule out kidney stones or any infections. Luckily, it turned out to be a nasty virus that required lots of fluids and Pepto Bismol. Safe to say it wasn’t life threatening. Every time I am hunched over in pain like that, though, and trying to pray it away, I always think of people who are suffering with real, life-threatening illnesses. They experience unspeakable pain and discomfort everyday, to the point where it becomes the norm. They suffer and fight because they have no other choice.

How often do we take our health for granted? We walk around with perfectly healthy bodies, other than the occasional cold and flu, and yet the things we worry about seem catastrophic. Even though our bodies are healthy, many of us stress over things in our life that are actually within our control. Bills, relationships, traffic; we can control how we react to these things. Imagine how minimal these things would all seem if God forbid, you were to be diagnosed with cancer. How would you react to something that was so much out of your control? We all like to think we would react strongly and positively but given our outrageous reactions to simple things like being cut off by the driver behind you, we may not respond in ways we would like.

Choose to react positively to things in your life; both the good and the bad. If you get cut off, don’t explode. If you feel overwhelmed with your finances, take a deep breath and try to put it into perspective. Often people who have been diagnosed with serious illnesses say that the moment they were given the news, everything else that seemed so important before, slowly fades away. I have been trying to make a habit of remembering this. Remember what is important, what is within your power and control, and keep it all in perspective within the grand scheme of things.

I wanted to share Mitchell’s story, which along with thousands of others, I have been following on facebook. Ten year old Mitchell passed away last Saturday from muscular dystrophy. His family courageously chronicled his brave journey on facebook and if you are on the social networking site, I strongly recommend following it. The strength of this young boy is indescribable and inspiring beyond words. As his physical health continued to decline, his spirit strengthened at an even faster rate. Check out the incredible video and read more about Mitchell’s journey here: http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/12308