Not useless, not worthless

There have been oh so many days when I lay in bed, cursing myself and my illness, for my inability to get up and do something.

Of course cursing doesn’t help, nor does it make me feel better. 

During one particularly bad stretch, I realized I was going to have to come to terms with a self that couldn’t do much of anything, and not even half of what I wanted to do. I started to wonder–if the worst-case scenario came true and I became permanently bed-bound, would I be worth anything, or just a drain on my loved ones? Is someone who contributes virtually nothing to society still valuable as a human being? 

I’m still not sure why–that is, I’m not sure I could argue it with facts and figures convincingly–but I feel very strongly that the answer is yes: even someone who can’t go anywhere or do things is a valuable person. I would say as valuable as any other person. Maybe I can’t choose my circumstances but I can try to be as positive an influence as possible in my sphere of influence, even if that only includd the person who is taking care of me. 

As beings inhabiting this planet at this point in space, at this point in time, we experience existence as much as a doer of many things. 

That existence is valuable! 

Well, so, good. That’s decided. Now what? I struggle to play this decision out in practical terms. One thing that’s helped is trying to focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t. (Let’s all chorus together: “Easier said than done!”) 

Here’s one practical comfort: On a day when I’m definitely not going anywhere, my children are perfectly willing to come to me. I think they like it pretty well to come jump in bed with Mom and read books for a while. Sometimes a day in bed leads to more together-time than would have happened if I were up and about.

It’s taken me a long time–years, I think–to realize it’s much better to relish the extra cuddle time than worry that we had pizza delivered for dinner. Again.