Having been sick for over two weeks, I’ve realized that illness makes me appreciate my health. Just the simple act of breathing through my nose or sleeping through the night is something I take for granted until I can’t do it.
I’ve been trying to keep a photo gratitude journal this year. In the midst of being sick, I woke up one morning trying to think of what I might be grateful for. I looked down at my feet dangling over the edge of my bed I and immediately knew what my gratitude would be for the day. I took a picture of my feet with the entry “I’m grateful to be able to walk without pain, and for the healing that is happening.” You may ask – what does that have to do with being sick? Let me explain.
I’ve had plantar fasciitis for over 7 years. It feels like walking with broken bones. There have been periods of respite as well as unbearable flare ups. Most recently, as I’ve been searching for different methods of relief, I was referred by a friend to a new doctor.
I went to my appointment hoping that he might have some new, untried remedy. He opted for a steroid shot in the heel of my foot and then taped the bed of my foot to offer extra support. I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory and given very specific instructions for stretching. This stretching was to be done a certain way every morning before I even put a foot on the ground. He warned it would be hard to remain committed because the stretches were so easy. Still, they were essential to healing my pain.
Without being too graphic, think about the first thing you usually have to do when you wake up in the morning. Its urgency can make it seems like the most important thing at the time, right? Putting that off for 10-15 minutes until my stretching was done was hard, but I was diligent, knowing my greatest desire was to feel better.
Fast forward to four weeks later: after a sleepless night not being able to breathe, I felt grateful as I took my first step out of bed without pain. Rather than dwell on what was obviously wrong I was looking for something to be grateful for, and there they were hanging over the side of the bed.
“It seems to be human nature: as we become more familiar with something, even something miraculous and awe-inspiring, we lose our sense of awe and treat it as commonplace…I suppose this could be possible if our hearts were past feeling to experience gratitude and awe for the sacred and sublime gifts God has granted us.”
When I think about the greatest gift God has granted me, I most often think of the Atonement wrought by Jesus Christ. It is typically associated with being forgiven of our sins – but how often do we remember His great gift also heals us of our infirmities? He is the Master Doctor and Healer of our pain. Do we get so caught up in life that we forget and take this gift for granted?
His prescription is simple. He asks that we trust him as we give him our whole heart to walking the path of discipleship. It’s fairly straightforward but easy to forget when life gets busy. It is our spiritual stretches that bring us closer to him. Pain is often the reminder to turn back towards him. His prescription removes the pride in our heart and heals us of our infirmities.
 Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (2016) lds.org. Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/o-how-great-the-plan-of-our-god?lang=eng
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