I’m getting started. Today is the day I start writing my book on adversity. I’ve thought about it for a long time, but now is the time to quit thinking and start writing. Wait. That’s not quite what I meant. I’ll be thinking a lot as I write. It’s just that thinking won’t be the only activity associated with my book on adversity. I’ll be writing as well.
Apparently a prerequisite for writing about adversity is living with it. Perhaps that’s the reason my health has been on-again off-again lately – to help get me in the proper emotional frame of mind. Actually, that’s not what I really believe.
I believe that health problems are part of our mortal lives. They’re not a blessing or a curse from God, but rather a by-product of having bodies of flesh and blood. God, in his omnipotence, can cure all diseases of the mind and body, but most of the time He doesn’t. They’re part of our mortal testing, part of what we agreed to endure as part of our decision to follow the Son’s plan and come to earth.
Some people handle health problems (adversity) better than others. When I’m having poor health days I often throw myself a Poopy Health Pity Party. No one else ever shows up. Even my family avoids joining in my wallowing. Usually it’s just me moping on the couch or sleeping away the afternoon.
Last night while watching TV with my husband, I became the reality commentator for the commercials. I followed an ad that combined Wendy’s fast-food restaurant with the Utah Jazz basketball team with, “That’s right folks, come watch the Jazz sweat and play while you sit on your duffs and clog your arteries. Maybe even raise your cholesterol.” Another advertisement was for the Utah Blaze – an indoor arena football team. I talked over their promo with, “This sport is made for all you men who can’t stand staying at home with your family. Come watch another sport you never play with your kids and spend even more money and time on something that doesn’t really matter.”
After a few more tart-minded comments my husband said, “You’re not feeling well, are you?”
How did you know?
I know that no one handles health problems perfectly, but my neighbor, Wanda, sure seems to. I look up to her as a terrific example of how to endure adversity with grace and dignity. I came across a poem last week that reminded me of her.
On His Blindness
When I consider how much my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er the land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
-- John Milton
Wanda has expressed frustration at not being able to do more, serve more. And yet she regularly attends church with a smile on her face and twinkle in her eye despite on-going pain and illness. As an outsider looking in, it seems to me that her best service is doing exactly what the above poem mentions – bearing her mild yoke, standing (in her case, sitting) and waiting.