the reality of your new life

“I never told the students I was sick (although some of them figured it out). However, being sick, I was unable to be anyone other than my unadorned self in the classroom. It became easy to admit that I didn’t have all the answers, and I felt a new compassion both for people caught up in the legal system and for students facing struggles in their own lives. Sitting in a chair, speaking in such a weak voice that students sometimes had to ask me to repeat myself, I received the highest teaching evaluations in my twenty years on the job. And yet, I had to let it all go. When you are as chronically ill as I am, you have to make some very hard choices. Ironically, people may think you’re giving up, when in fact you are simply giving in to the reality of your new life.”

– Toni Bernhard, from her book How To Be Sick. Her blog, “Turning Straw into Gold,” on the Psychology Today website, discusses Buddhism and chronic illness.