I worry that fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions tempt us to focus so much on ourselves that we forget to get beyond ourselves and serve others. Maybe tempt is a strong word… but I think it fits. No matter your condition, there is always room for others. No matter your condition, there is always someone in need. No matter your condition, it could always be worse. Don’t tempt fate.
If you think there isn’t room for others in your life, my heart breaks for you. And, to be blunt, shame on you. Your attitude is exactly what is wrong with the world. I know the greatest joy to be found in this life is found in the service of others–family member, friend, or stranger. If you think there’s nothing you can do to improve the life of another, you’re wrong. You may not be rich. You may not have much time. You may not even be happy. But you do have a heart, hands, and a smile. And though you can’t fix every problem with those three things, you can mend hearts, build trust, and brighten days; and that’s doing loads more to create lasting global change than any gargantuan US stimulus package. But, I digress…
Take doubts you have about your ability to serve and set them to the side. Think of a time when you were the one in need and something simple made your day or brought you relief. You can read about one such experience I’ve had here. I bet these memories didn’t involve moving a mountain, running a mile, or spending a large amount of money. Point is, I bet you can do something similar for someone else. Look for an opportunity to pay it forward. Pray to recognize those in need of your friendship. Commit to have the courage to act. And then do so.
Don’t fall prey to excuses. Don’t expect a thank you. Don’t do it for recognition. Sometimes it’s best to follow the guidance given in Matthew 6:3-4.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
So, in closing, I challenge you to accelerate your recovery by serving someone else. I pray doing so will refine the perspective from which you view your health issues. I am confident your struggles will feel more bearable and your heart more full of hope.