I have always enjoyed having family over to visit and to host large get-togethers at my house. When company is invited over, I know the right thing to do is have a clean, picked-up house, offer food and drink, and tend to the needs of my guests. Most people have been raised to treat company this way and under most circumstances, this is totally doable. But what about when you have psoriatic arthritis (PsA)? Are there situations and circumstances when we are unable to follow the traditional rules for when company calls? Does this mean I should choose not to entertain? Should I have to forgo the joy of having company in my home because of PsA?
Just the other day, the weather was beautiful-an absolutely perfect sunny day. My husband and I decided, a bit of a last minute idea, to invite some family over for a spur-of-the-moment cookout. I didn’t feel great, but I value spending time with my family so I was on board with the idea. I really believed I could get the house picked up, at least to an acceptable level, before our family arrived. With 3 young children, ages 6 and under that I homeschool, let’s just say there was perhaps quite a bit more than a “spattering” of toys and other assorted paraphernalia littering pretty much every horizontal surface and floor.
Before I knew it, my whole body felt like it was carrying around a 50 pound blanket. Every step seemed to get harder and harder. Then the fever hit and I knew I was in full on flare mode, just as company arrived. I thought I could tough it out. I thought that if I just sat and talked with people that I would still be able to do what I wanted to do and not be forced to do what my body demanded. I was wrong. I had to head to bed.
The next thing I knew, I came downstairs to see what I had missed and my wonderful family had taken it upon themselves to pick up and clean the whole house for me. I was simultaneously shocked and utterly humbled by their thoughtfulness. Here, I had invited them over as guests for a nice, relaxing cookout and they ended up spending the lovely Sunday afternoon cleaning my house.
Accepting help with grace
I don’t think it is easy for anyone to admit that they need help, this is especially true for me. Managing life with psoriatic arthritis has taught me that there is a grace in the acceptance of help. Most people are happy to help with a simple thank you. Learning how to accept help with grace instead of shame or guilt takes time but it is well worth the effort.
Dealing with the guilt
There is a certain type of guilt that comes with being physically unable to take care of keeping your own house neat and tidy all of the time. I have to actually make a conscious choice to push the feelings of guilt aside in order to make room for feeling blessed by the gifts I do have. There isn’t room for both. It is never easy for me to receive help, but it is always nice to know that no matter what, family will always be there.