I've been thinking about what aimee mullins said about the opportunities her disabilities have presented her. On one level I recoil at the idea of seeing disability or chronic illness this way, fearing that the tired, "be positive", new age-y proselytising is just around the corner. But I don't honestly think she was just saying "look on the bright side" here either. Hm. Opportunity. At the end of the day, that hasn't been a concept I've every really considered in terms of my diabetes. Coping, trying to feel whole, aiming for grace, yes. Opportunity, not so much.
The other day, at a quiet moment, a very clear and simple question just popped into my head. If I were to consider the idea of opportunity in this experience of chronic illness and diabetes, what would that look like and mean? What is the opportunity, if any, does my diabetes offer me? The question just hung there in the air, quietly, lightly, without any judgement. It was a bit profound actually, to hold up this experience I've had, that I'm having at this very moment and turn it around to look at it from a completely different vantage point. What is the opportunity my diabetes offers me? I'd never asked myself that question. Never.
What happened next was surprising. Again, quietly, as if suspended in air, a tentative answer presented itself. If I look at my diabetes and all the hoopla and time I have to devote and details I have to focus on as my true reality, what comes up is this. Diabetes offers me the opportunity to gently, justifiably, kindly tend to my health. It offers me the chance to truly and deeply care for myself. It offers me a life path of nurturing and care, not unlike a gardener tending to their garden or a parent nurturing their beloved child. Diabetes offers me the chance to pay attention to my body, my health and ultimately, to life itself.
That's the answer that presented itself when I asked the question. There it was.
Now I'm not saying that this idea negates all the other things I feel about diabetes, the loss, the burden, the weariness. But it's interesting to add to the "hand of diabetes truths" the idea of embracing the opportunity it presents. I'm not sure I totally buy this yet but I'm certainly open to considering it. Up until now I've only seen diabetes as a thing that gets in the way of living a full life rather than a chance to profoundly celebrate living. At the very least, it's an interesting idea to hold in my heart for a while. And hey, if it brings me some peace and comfort in the process, it's certainly worth the consideration.