Posted by: susanideus | October 1, 2010

A Quiet Monochrome Week

In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.  ~Howard Thurman

I was supposed to write a piece this week on color—choosing a color, finding examples of it as I go though the week, and writing about how that color makes me feel. Didn’t happen.

My week has been blanketed in the dense fog of fibromyalgia—one of those weeks when my body just seems to slam into a wall and say “no more!” It happens occasionally, and while I won’t burden you with the tedious list of symptoms, suffice it to say that life goes into slow motion for me, I have no choice but to rest, and most of my best-laid plans are set aside.

I could have tried to write the piece. From my chair and from my bed, I can see colors—I know the sky is still blue with fluffy white clouds, the plants are still green (well, most of them), and there are flowers blooming. The problem is that I don’t feel them. Does that sound strange? It’s as though the world has turned to sepia. Nothing stands out, nothing is bright or vibrant, nothing seems to touch me or stir my senses.

Perhaps it’s a defense mechanism. Just as too much touch causes me physical pain right now, too much sensory input is hard to handle as well. Even when my energy level allows me to read, I can’t seem to process anything heavy. It truly is like being in a fog, or behind a thick clouded window.

When I find myself in this frustrating fog, I’ve learned (the hard way!) that there is no way out but to see it through. Pushing my body and mind don’t help. Rest and sleep are my best friends–and so I invite them in. This will pass, if I take care of myself–and so I do. I have time to think, to pray, to listen, to reflect—and so I relax into those practices. I have time for tea and listening to soft music—and I indulge. I try to write some, mostly in my journal—and it helps.

As strength returns and pain recedes, my world will come back to life. Color will return, and I will appreciate it even more fully.



  1. I have very severe arthritis (including two knee replacements some 8 years old now!) and although the symptoms and pain cycles aren’t the same as Fibro, I can really identify with what you are expressing – and one of my frustrations is being about to express it to others, without coming across as whiny, needy, self-absorbed or even obnoxious. Thank you for doing it so well, showing how although the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, and the light is dimmed, however temporarily! Love your writings!

    • Oh, Lo, I often feel needy and whiny–I get so frustrated when I can’t DO. It’s taken much forced learning for me to learn just to BE. I am blessed with a loving husband, who although he may not really understand what it feels like, is always there to support & comfort. Thanks for being so kind about my writing.

  2. I enjoyed this as it captures how we can all feel when our bodies are not cooperating. Also, it is so validating to hear someone is taking time out to take care of themselves. Thanks for writing.

    • Thanks for coming by to visit my blog. I’m always glad when my words reach out and touch someone else. Hope you’ll check back.

  3. Interesting coincidence. I threw my back out this week doing a simple yoga stretch. Lots of couch time as I suspect you had also.
    One thing I noticed this time is that I get mad and frustrated (several bad back episodes this year), then I judge myself for being upset. Duh! I just decided tonight that it’s okay to be upset when we feel icky. For an hour or two, anyway!
    Maybe you didn’t write about colors but you wrote very eloquently about fibro, no small feat indeed. Be well soon!

    • Linda, I hope your back is healing. Patience with myself is one of the hardest won lessons of my having fibro. It’s an uphill battle that I fight every time I’m down. I’ve had to learn to let myself acknowledge the pain, accept the slowdowns, and the anger I feel at my body’s betrayal. I do get upset, and sometimes, quite frankly, I feel sorry for myself. That’s when I journal and meditate and reflect on happier times. It all helps.

  4. I understand, all too well, what you write about here having been through the flare-ups too many times over the years. Gentle hugs, and I pray you will be get past this monochrome week quickly.

    • Thanks for the hugs. I’m feeling some better today, and life goes on, as inevitably it does. I’m grateful for returning health, even if it comes slowly. Someone is surely determined for me to learn patience. Sigh…

  5. Susan, this is a very moving post. Your choice of activities when the fibromyalgia descends is touching: you spend time thinking, praying, listening and reflecting. You have Mary’s part for a while, rather than Martha’s.

    Thinking of you.

    • How apt an analogy. I have spent much of my life seeking balance between Mary’s and Martha’s roles. Both are significant. Both are valuable and have their place. I must say Martha is closer to who I am by habit. I’ve always found it difficult to settle into Mary’s place. I’m determined to learn. I keep reminding myself that both were precious to Jesus.

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