As an introvert, staying home is one of my favorite things to do. As a cancer patient, it's one of my least favorite things.
It often feels as if everyone else's life is moving forward (as it should) while my own life is on pause indefinitely. Staying home, being sick for the foreseeable future, missing out on serving others - this all makes me feel worthless, like I don't have anything to contribute to the conversation. I fight this mental battle more often than you might think.
Like, nearly every day.
(I just went back to re-read this and it sounds depressing! I am not depressed or sad or angry! Just pointing out that being sick all the time means staying home . . . which means life outside the walls of your own home comes to a screeching halt.)
As a cancer patient, however, staying home is one of the most important things I do. The simple fact is that if I don't stay home, I get sick. If I get sick, I legitimately cannot contribute to my family. If I get really sick, I have to take a break from chemo. And as much as I might enjoy the chemo break while it's happening, skipping chemo means my cancer has yet another chance to grow. I've had a stomach bug 3 out of the last 4 weekends (hello, church germs) and had to skip chemo as a result this past week. It's a reminder that I have to be more careful about crowds and germs.
In addition to staying home so that I can stay well, I stay home because leaving often takes more energy than I have to spare. I'm learning what's worth my time and energy. Friday morning Bible study? Definitely. Countless kid birthday parties or play dates? Nope.
Everything is a trade-off. When I say yes to friends, church events or work outings, it means I say no to my family. If I say yes to my family, it generally means I've had to say no to a church event or friend outing, cleaning my house, cooking dinner, etc. I'm searching for balance. Saying yes to my family is most important; staying healthy comes next, which means I sometimes say no to everything else.
So if I miss church or your son's birthday party or don't attend small group events, please don't feel offended. Please try to understand that I am choosing to protect my health as much as I can, conserving my emotional and physical energy for my family, and that I hate missing out on all of it.
Well, maybe not the birthday parties. I am an introvert after all!