Saturday, February 20, 2010

Oh My Aching Back

We had a great 5-mile walk yesterday evening, squeezing it in just before sunset. The air was crisp, the wind was a bit too cold, but even that just made the walk more satisfying. We walked on our bike path and reveled in the fact that it is clear of snow and ice already. Walking across the bike path bridge, we could see that the river was flowing completely ice-free, just as if Spring were already here. We capped the walk with a quick stop at Esselon Café to grab coffees to go and enjoyed our last mile as a coffee stroll. All in all, it was a perfect walk.

After the walk, we gathered up my daughter and her boyfriend. The 4 of us went bowling, a sport I enjoy but don’t have much practice or skill at. It was a great fun evening. However, today, my back hurts so much that I cannot stand up straight and simply moving from the couch to the floor takes my breath away.

So here I am, on the couch, angry with my body. How quickly it turned on me! Just hours ago, I was walking through a perfect dusk into a fun family evening. Just hours ago, my legs were carrying me exactly as I asked them to. Just hours ago, my back was bending and twisting so that I could toss the bowling ball down the lane, although not well, I must admit! And now, my body has rebelled against me.

And so I lay here on the couch, thinking angry thoughts directed at my weak back. The rest of my family moves freely around me, stopping to check on me and take care of me. I am glad that they are willing to help me this way, but even that makes me angry.

I don’t want to need their help. I don’t want to be that weak.

With that thought echoing in my head, I am unexpectedly hit in the mental solar plexus with a memory. Suddenly, it is the early spring months before my first 3Day Walk. I am in NJ, taking care of my friend Mary Kay as she recovers from one of her earliest rounds of chemotherapy. She was lying on the couch, resting from hours of trying not to vomit. I was sweeping her kitchen floor. She stopped me and tearfully asked me to come sit with her. Holding my hand, she thanked me for driving 4 hours just to sweep her floor. And in that moment, two friends sitting together, I was struck with a powerful realization. She needed me and I was so grateful to be able to show her my love by taking care of her. She gave me a great gift that day. She gave me a way to help. She gave me the chance to show her my love.

Letting people help you is a generous gift. I want to always be the one helping others, but if I am, then I never give other people the opportunity to be the helping ones.

Letting people help me is not weakness. I keep forgetting this. I guess the Universe sent me this backache today to remind me.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing insight. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    S.D. '10 first time walker