- Mental Health
Attitude Changer: How I Found Hope in a Washcloth
A Very Dark Time
A few years ago, I was hospitalized for a week while the doctors determined a diagnosis for the symptoms I was experiencing. I had been homebound for a couple weeks, had recently separated from my husband, and was already feeling very low indeed.
I was depressed before I became ill, and the current sickness had further lowered my spirits. I often forgot to eat, didn't get much sleep, and often cried without warning on any given day. I was doing my best to keep my spirits up, and even with the support of those close to me, I was learning that my emotions depended upon me, and not on anyone else.
I had already been in a local hospital for three days before my being transferred to a larger facility for more specialized care. It was my first morning in the bigger hospital that I had the discovery.
The friendly nurse's aide had brought me the necessary items for a sponge bath: bubbly hot water in a plastic tub, about three or four white washcloths, and a towel. She placed the maroon tub with steaming water on the bedside table, and left the room so I could have some privacy (Is that such a thing at a hospital, really?), with orders to push the little red button or the call light if I needed anything.
Ah, there is nothing like a steamy hot sponge bath when you've been confined to bed for a couple days! The washcloths felt expensive, like the ones used in fancy hotels. Out of curiosity, I picked up one of the cloths in question to examine it more closely. The tag read Best Western, so I was right about the nice hotel part, anyway. They were so very soft that I was a little surprised at such a commodity in a hospital. I dipped the luxuriant 100% cotton white washcloth into the hot water, wrung out much of the excess water, and began washing my face. It felt heavenly!
The thick cloth was so much better than the cheap rags I used at home. You know the ones I'm talking about that can be bought in an 18-pack at your local Walmart for $3.00 or so. That was when the real discovery was made! Not the Best Western washcloths, but so much more meaningful! With just a small expense as a quality washcloth, I could begin every day feeling as if I were in the lap of luxury in my bathroom at home!
It's A Start
By now you may be thinking I'm one brick shy of a load, but I'm telling the truth! When I got back home, I took a portion of my next paycheck and went to the mall. There I bought three of the highest-quality washcloths I could afford in JCPenney. Why only three, you ask? I know there are seven days in a week, but I wanted to feel fancy with my Dollar Tree budget, so I bought three. That's one more reason why God made washing machines.
Anyway, those three washcloths did so much to allow me to change my daily outlook. My life was still the way it was, but my attitude had changed. By beginning my day with a prayer as soon as I turned off the alarm but before getting out of the bed, and by pampering myself in a very small way, I was able to begin the transformation of my attitude.
I'm not pretending to say that new washcloths will magically cure depression because it won't. It's just some cotton, and isn't a magic pill. When you experience depression, you know magic doesn't exist. But, my friends, hope does exist. There is always hope, even if it isn't burning very brightly or if you have your eyes closed to it. To quote Alexander Pope, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast...."
I guess that's what those wonderfully soft hospital washcloths represented to me. Hope that better days are ahead. Hope that I would be able to afford to have seven fancy washcloths one day, so I can use one every day of the week. Hope, a certain hope, that God would one day wipe the tears from my eyes and from my heart and heal my body and my spirit. Hope. It's a good place to start.
What Things Did You Do To Give You Hope?
Please comment below with some of the things you did that gave you hope or some change you made to boost your attitude. I'd love to hear your ideas!
© 2017 Diana Majors