Take your problems, all of them, from the tiniest annoyances to the most horrific, difficult challenges and put all those problems into a brown paper bag or a politically-correct cloth eco-bag.
Then imagine if everyone else took all of their problems, put them into their own bags and brought them to the center of town.
Think of how many bags there would be, all piled up in one big mountain of brown paper and brightly-colored cloth bags.
If you were told you could pick any bag of problems and take it home with you, do you think you’d want someone else’s problems?
(Story borrowed from The Faith Club, by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner)
“Better the devil you know than the one you don’t.” The Familiar can be quite comfortable. It’s predictable, we think. It’s known. We’ve practiced dealing with it. We assume we know how things will turn out and we get ready.
My body and I have lived with rheumatoid arthritis for over 20 years. Pain and discomfort vary. My pain–physical, emotional, spiritual–is invisible if I choose to disguise it with humor or stoicism. So is yours.
Remember PacMan? That’s how I pictured my arthritis in the beginning. The disease was an enemy force of scary little critters using my blood vessels as a superhighway to randomly chomp on my joints. I hated them and the medications I was trying were losing a lot of battles against them.
Eventually, I gave up the anger and war images. I had to make peace with those mean monsters inside me. If I could be compassionate and forgiving, they might be gentler. So I prayed for willingness.
Today we are next-door neighbors inside my body, the critters and my Spirit. Sometimes they are noisy and intrusive, but I can shut my windows and ignore the doorbell. They are familiar and they could be worse. I accept them as they are and I deal with them one day at a time.
I know how to do “hard”. I’ve had practice. We all have. I know I can probably handle most any problem that pops up next.
If I could pick one bag from the pile, would I pick my own again? I’m not sure.