This excerpt is from a conversation I had with my Aunt Betty last Sunday. I was exasperated because I injured my feet so I haven’t been able to do something as simple as walk around the block or drive very far without my feet tingling and burning. It’s been going on for nearly a month and a half now. Since it’s nerve damage, the recovery time is uncertain. I know I will learn a lot through this and that I need to put my faith into action. But the reality is that I’ve gone into anxiety and melancholy about the whole thing. Here are my Aunt Betty’s words to me:
You’re making it worse on yourself and increasing the pain when you concentrate on this problem. Why do you keep focusing on it in rebellion? It seems to me that the way out of it is to really focus into the will of God and the whole mystery of what’s going on in that will. Say, “Ok, Lord, obviously I’m upset. I allowed myself in some way to have this happen and so I’m infuriated about that. But I know what you have taught. Lord, what good is meant to come out of this? I surrender myself to you and I cry out. Lord Jesus, Bring the good out of this. And if it’s to my good, please bring about the healing.”
I see you get furious, outraged and depressed and wanting to beat yourself up and go about making it worse, and I’m thinking why does she do that? I don’t understand. Explain to me how the way you are handling this is making it better. If I were to respond to a situation like this the way you are, I think I would be depressed, too, because the more you focus on the negative, the worse it is. The gospel teaches us to forgive and refuse to beat ourselves up. It teaches us to respect ourselves, God, and others. I see you being angry and disrespectful toward yourself.
If you could get more in line with the Divine Will, you’d be more peaceful. I know as I get older, and my body breaks down, it really does help the way I handle things if I keep going into the Divine will. I try to see where I can learn and not allow myself to go into rebellion. Rather, I move towards the surrender and look to whatever good God can bring out of it. It has been a big help. I have fibromyalgia. The way I handle it is that I don’t focus on it. I don’t deny that I have it, but I don’t focus on it. When it gets very painful, I say, “Lord, whatever good you can bring out of this, I surrender to that.” Then it seems to let up and I can move on. I can’t say it is healed. Some people who have illnesses make themselves totally incapacitated. They feel life is ended, but I refuse to go that way.
The main thing you can do for your family is show them how to handle this stuff with a positive attitude, because they’re going to run into suffering. If you could say, “Lord whatever good you want to bring out of this, please don’t let me miss any of it on useless complaining. Let me set an example to the family on how to handle pain.“