more: experiencing life’s abundance while living with chronic illness

more - experiencing life's abundance while living with chronic illness - tulips @poetryjoy.com

What might having an abundant life look like to you? Is it possible to have a “more than” existence with less? I believe it is. Although it has taken years of shifted thinking and spiritual digging to discover the truth of a less is more kind of life.

When I was a nurse, running madly around a ward all day, with a home and family to take care of as well, the idea of more meant extra time out and time off. Having a hot, undisturbed bath. A book to read. An ability to rest. A meal cooked by my husband. Those were luxuries to me.

But when I first became sick with M.E, I saw that time itself wasn’t such a gift. It’s how we spend our hours that counts. If you spend your days flat-out with fatigue in a darkened bedroom, unable to participate in life and full of pain, time seems like a cruel punishment, while the hours stretch endlessly. I felt like an 80-year-old in a 30 something’s body.

more - hourglass- #FMF - living with M.E quote (c) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

As my condition became less severe sometimes, quality time with loved ones became my most precious priority and sought after soul resource. Then my insecure soul felt that the essence of more was encapsulated in purchasing and accumulating stuff. It’s not. Because I was trying to plug an unaddressed sense of pain and loss.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.” – Psalms 23 GNT

Consumerism is a vicious hamster wheel kind of circle, whereby enough is never enough to try to assuage or feed our inner hunger. And it’s left me with a huge decluttering problem to tackle too.

Eventually, with additional physical health challenges and concerns, my eyes were opened to the inestimable worth of Simply. Being. Alive. I’ve realised I have more than enough because I already have all I can access of God’s mercy, grace and love.

more - rose - I have more than enough quote (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” – John 10:10 AMP

Shifts

as I age
hidden benefits emerge
like buried treasure
with inner leanings, a shift
toward the contemplative

I notice
far more than I did before
when preoccupied
with life and busyness
instead of seated stillness

my awareness of
inner and outer landscape
is magnified
their shifting moods noted
as seeing is more acute

their preciousness
gets highlighted by loss
cycles of death
repeat – fallenness of leaves
causes heartache and grief

although I see
intimations of hope
in the release
for we will both rise again
in newness of life and limb
ยฉ joylenton

I’m linking my five-minute-friday tanka pentaptych poem in community with fellow writer friendsย here as we share our thoughts on the prompt of “more.” May we all believe we are more than enough even when we feel like our lives or words are insufficient. And seek God Himself more than anything else.

18 thoughts on “more: experiencing life’s abundance while living with chronic illness

  1. Deeply, wisely, patiently beautiful, Joy. This is my all-time favorite of your poems. And just what I needed to read today. Inspiring song and photos, tooโ€”sweet HOPE, delivered right to my heart via screen.

    Thank you for listening well and glimpsing Light everywhere, even the small darkened room.

    • Dear Laurie, I think this might be my all-time favourite of your responses here. In seeing HOPE writ large in these words, you have beautifully encouraged my heart, because it’s always my hope, desire, purpose and prayer to reveal hope to others. Thank YOU for being so gracious and bringing God’s Light through your thoughtful comments. It surrounds us far more than we realise sometimes, inhabiting every darkened space. Grateful hugs and love to you! xo ๐Ÿ’œ

    • Michael, thank you so much for honouring God’s work in me with your words and generous sharing. May you have a blessed, restful Sabbath, dear friend! โคโค

  2. Dear Joy,
    Oh I love these precious thoughts today:
    “I notice
    far more than I did before
    when preoccupied
    with life and busyness
    instead of seated stillness”
    I am finding this to be so true, also. There is such a deep appreciation, and a sense of not taking anything for granted that has come from this slowed-down-lifestyle. Thank you for expressing so beautifully the Spirit’s working. Your words are a gift today. Blessings, love, and hugs my friend! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, it’s a precious gift, isn’t it? Being more noticing makes me think I must have been walking around with my eyes shut before! Or just too busy and preoccupied to be aware of God’s touches on my life. When our world shrinks in a physically active sense, it’s a joy to have our spiritual lenses enlivened instead. A wonderful compensation for a slowed-down, limited and constrained lifestyle! Your sweet comments are always a gift to me. Blessings, love, and hugs to you too, my friend and sister in suffering! xoxo ๐Ÿ’œ

  3. Joy, I love this! I am seeking more of God’s presence. I know what you mean about so much clutter. I need so much to get rid of a lot of stuff so we can enjoy life without a lot of mess. But more than that, like the song, I want Jesus to help me want Him more than anything. Thank you, dear Joy, for sharing your heart. I think there is something about getting older that does help us appreciate the little things more. But maybe it’s also just being more aware of God’s presence with us. Blessings, love and hugs to you dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo

    • Gayl, I think you’ve hit on a nugget of truth concerning the growth of gratitude that can accompany the passing of years. Maybe we learn to lower our expectations and become thankful for what we already have. I feel for you in wanting to live with less clutter. My journey toward a more minimalistic lifestyle is terribly slow and tortoise-like! When we have a lot to sift and shift, it can be hard to appreciate our tiny steps of progress, can’t it? Yet little by little, we will reach our target. It might be a stack of books sorted, a shelf tidied or a drawer put to rights. The important thing is to give ourselves grace and to celebrate each small step we take. I’ve not been well enough to achieve any decluttering for months but I know a time will soon come when you and I will be able to begin again by the grace of God. Blessings, love and hugs to you too, dear friend! xoxo ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’œ

      • Yes, Joy, I need to celebrate each small step of progress instead of looking at all that’s still left to do. Blessings to you!

      • Oh you and me both, Gayl! May it save us from getting discouraged. The mountain ahead of us seems colossal but we will get to it and over it if we keep moving forward! xo ๐Ÿ’œ

  4. My dear friend, this is so beautiful and so very moving. Thank you so much for writing this and for sharing it as you have. It touches my soul as I read it. It means so very much. Such a sensitive heart. With much love to you. xx

    • Elizabeth, it’s a joy to see you here again! Thank you so much for the lovely comment. I’m grateful for being given words to touch your soul. I think poetry allows for greater emotional immediacy and soul to soul connection in general. I value your thoughts and your sensitive, receptive heart. Much love to you, dear friend! xo ๐Ÿ’œ

      • Thank you again for your beautiful words. What a lovely way of expressing about the beauty of poetry and what it can enable in one another. Such insight, which is a real blessing. Much love to you. xx

      • Elizabeth, it’s often hard to define or describe what poetry is, isn’t it? Have you seen my ‘Why Poetry Joy’ page here? I haven’t updated it for a while but the thoughts expressed there still hold true for me. I began this blog because I thought that readers at my main site wordsofjoy.me might not want to see too much poetry. I write there fortnightly at the moment, and I do tend to tackle heavier topics even if my main objective is to offer hope and encouragement to others. This is predominantly my poetic space, although I do tend to reflect a bit as well. I just can’t help myself! Much love to you too, dear friend! xo ๐Ÿ’œ

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