About four years ago, I began to feel a lot of pain in my right hand. Like most women my age, I started popping Ibuprofen like candy and motored on because that is just what we do. The next thing I new my whole world crashed around me, and doctors as well as friends labeled me as a hypochondriac.
I felt ashamed because my “Super Woman” powers had deserted me. I also thought I was crazy. My whole world dissolved into a kaleidoscope of pain, and I was drowning in a quagmire of depression. A year ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Disease (formerly known as Rheumatoid Arthritis). I thought, no problem I can beat this!
After all, I’d conquered so many things in life, I was certain I could squash these medical conditions, and walk away like a champion prize fighter. Needless to say, things didn’t quite work out that the way I thought they would. Now, I’ve filed for disability and life is a daily struggle. Sometimes, I am too sick to get out of bed; however, I still have good days like the day I captured this buffalo on film. That day my Spirit was renewed, and I realized it was time to count my blessings. I knew it was time to reach out to others who suffer with these “freak” conditions.
How did I come to that conclusion? To put it simply, I believe that animals can be Spirit guides. We need those animal guides when we are too blind to see what is important. As an animal Spirit guide , according to the book, Medicine Cards (c) by Jamie Sams and David Carson, “The medicine of Buffalo is prayer, gratitude, and praise for that which has been received. Buffalo medicine is also knowing that abundance is present when all relations are honored as sacred, and gratitude is expressed to every part of living creation,” (p. 113).
I’ve sat alone in my warm and delightfully shabby green velvet wing-chair, and cried my eyes out because my friends seemed to have disappeared because I don’t see or hear from many of them. Still, I can hold these precious memories close to my heart, and I can still find great comfort in the fact that I was blessed just to have those experiences in life that so many never do. I am thankful for all my friendships; the ones that have endured during my illness, as well as the ones that have faded away.
With the rising smoke from the candles I’ve lit, I send up prayers of thanksgiving for my home, my husband, and my friends. I thank the “Powers that Be” for the winter snow that replenishes the dry earth, and fills the rivers as it melts in the spring even though the winter storms bring me pain. Strangely enough, I am thankful for the fact that these bizarre health conditions made me slow down enough to contemplate my life and put things into perspective. Most of all, today I am thankful for the Buffalo who paused long enough in his search for much needed nourishment to look me in the eye, and let me take his picture. Because of him, I am humbled because of my many blessings. Because of him, life has taken on a totally different meaning.
My hands are swelling and I won’t be able to write much more, but please if you suffer from a crippling disease or a chronic illness stop your tears, and look around you at the world. There are so many things to be thankful for and so many blessings to count. But know that some days the pain will blind you to these things and it is then you will have to look hard to find things to be thankful for. Still, if you look hard enough, you will always find a few blessings that you can count.