You know, we have all heard that life is about quality not quantity. I’d also like to point out that not one of us can determine or control our quantity of life. We like to think but in actuality we don’t have complete control over what happens to us. There is a point at which we cannot foresee exactly what is going to happen to us and control for it.
Those with a chronic illness may argue that I am wrong. They have this pain, this fatigue and it’s controlling their quality of life. On the other hand, is the suffering really about the pain or the fatigue? Isn’t the suffering more about the fear that it will never go away or that one will never be happy again? Fear is huge. A chronic illness reminds us that no matter how we live, how much we want to control, out body may have other ideas. It may understand something that we don’t about how the world works. We may not be able to keep death at by forever.
With pain and with illness, do we have a choice in how we react? We always have a choice. We choose the quality of our lives. A dear friend of mine died of a malignant melanoma. It metasized to the brain. In her last months of life, she and her family made choices to make those last months good ones. They made happy family memories, knowing that this time was precious because her time was all to limited. She created a life that had a lot of quality. As the tumor got bigger, there was more pain and more frustration. However, there was also as much quality time with loved ones as could be fit in reasonably. Did she want more? I’d be surprised if she didn’t. Was it frustrating to know that her life was being cut altogether too short? No doubt. However, the focus for her was always on the things that she could control. She focused on making as much time as she could about being happy and pain free and doing the things that were most important to her. Those things included family connections.
We always have a choice about the quality of our lives. We can choose to rant and be unhappy about our circumstances or we can choose to focus on making the best of a bad situation. The latter gives quality to our lives for however long we might have to live.