Eileen Baker shares her perspective since experiencing a relapse of her CFS.
Sticks and Flowers
By Eileen Baker
Four sticks in a pot of dirt. What good is that?
On a visit to Louisiana, my daughter bought four sticks, put them in a pot of dirt and sent them home with me. They were quite ugly. Actually, they were so ugly that I left them in the garage for a few days rather than bring them in the house. But then I thought, why not put them in the back of the house and see what happens? I didn’t even want them on the patio because I didn’t want anyone to see them.
But before long, beautiful leaves started sprouting on them, and now I’m waiting for the flowers. As it turns out, these ugly sticks grow the beautiful flowers from which Hawaiian leis (the wreath of flowers worn around the neck or head as a symbol of welcome) are made.
I share this story because now I am going through a time in my life when I feel like one of those ugly sticks.
Before my husband and I moved to Sun City, South Carolina, from Ohio, I had great plans. I was going to join a tennis league (I love tennis) and play croquet. My husband and I were going to go dancing on Friday nights (unbeknownst to him).
Then last October I was hit with CFS. I’d had CFS in the 1990s, but it had been in remission for so long that I thought I was free of it.
So what do I do now?
On the bright side, I can usually see the sun from my bedroom, and the sun shines here almost every day, in contrast to the many gray days in Ohio. The downside is that I’m like one of those sticks in a pot, hidden away from life. My activities are very limited.
After struggling with my emotions for months, I’m finally able to ask myself what I gain from this encounter with CFS? How can I grow even from where I am? And gradually some answers are coming to me. For example, I’ve always been interested in writing, so I’m giving it a try. I’m also taking this time to read all of those books I’ve put off for so long. These activities nourish me.
Who knows? Maybe if I don’t discount this time of being just a stick in a pot, healing will come and I can produce beautiful flowers in my life like those Hawaiian leis.
Eileen Baker is retired and lives in Sun City, Hilton Head, South Carolina, with her husband. She has two married daughters, three stepchildren and six wonderful grandchildren. CFS struck her after a trip to Nantucket Island in 1994, and persisted for a couple years before subsiding. In the fall of 2007 her CFS resurfaced, and she has spent most of the last year in bed.
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