I’m renewing my acquaintance with What Katy Did by Susan M Coolidge at the moment.  I’ve just reached the part where Katy falls out of the swing and injures her back, and Cousin Helen gives her wise advice about keeping cheerful and positive, and not grumbling which will, Cousin Helen explains, eventually drive people away.

It dawned on me that without realising it, this book has had quite an influence over me.  A couple of years ago I was ill with cerebellar ataxia and ME.  The illness wasn’t straightforward and the specialists were unable to account for all of the weird and wonderful symptoms I exhibited.  A whole variety of treatments and medications didn’t help – I could have been popping Smarties for all the good the tablets did me – and I honestly believed I would never get better and be able to lead a normal life again.  Without realising it at the time, Cousin Helen’s advice to Katy was ringing in my ears.  So I resolved never to complain and tried to maintain a positive outlook.  While friends showed great concern for Adrian and me, it was always at the back of my mind that they would soon get used to me being in a wheelchair and unable to do very much.  I didn’t want to be a negative person to be around because I was afraid that that might eventually drive them away.

Looking back, maybe this approach wasn’t particularly wise.  In my resolve not to complain, I didn’t share readily with anyone how bad the illness actually was.  It wasn’t until early October (several months into the illness) that I finally broke down and fired off a heart-felt text to a good friend about what a bad day I was having.  And what a good thing I did!  Because once she understood how bad things were, she immediately agreed with another good friend to fast and pray for a week, pleading with the Lord to heal me.  He answered their prayers amazingly, and I owe them both a huge debt of gratitude.

Who would have thought that a classic children’s book would have had such an influence?!  What book(s) have influenced you?