February 20, 2009


Here's a shocker: I have not walked every day this year. I've ridden my bike on days that are, in my opinion, too cold to walk and sadly there have been days I've missed exercising all together. But I have been fighting on, keeping myself afloat, doing yoga or pilates or crunches on The Bean that my mother gave my son for some odd reason. I even did a few leg thingys on that Bean and yowza. I couldn't bend over for three days. Sometimes exercising stops us from exercising, isn't that weird?

Times have been tough on me, mentally and physically and I am not complaining (because that would be breaking another resolution) - no, I'm not complaining at all. I'm just trying to illustrate how I feel very stagnant, stuck and st- st- st- I can't think of another st- word, but listless will do. It's irritating because my mind wants to move and my body mutters, "Wha? Did you say somepin?"

The pain I'm feeling this morning results from a pilates session yesterday when, it seems as I review the evidence, I ripped the muscles from my back, up the left side of my neck and into my brain. I worked on cadavers in college and I don't remember seeing the muscle that goes from the back, up the neck and into the cerebellum, but it does appear clear this morning, it exists. So there's that. (If my writing seems a little like it's being wrestled off balance this morning, you now know why.) I'm sure you sweet faithful readers will say something nice like, "Aww. That's a shame about your neck and brain," and totally leave out the admonition about not walking every day even though I promised I would. That's the thing about pain and friends, the combination seems to result in warm bonds. Least, that what the evidence has shown me in the last couple of months.

I live in a tiny town and we know everything about every body and if we don't know every last thing today, we will find it out at a Memorial Day party or at the 4th of July parade or on some odd Tuesday when we're at the news agency and we run into that person who gladly fills in the blanks. So, to put it bluntly, everyone knows that our son went to rehab for 10 days. They may not know of the years of depression and anxiety he went through before those 10 days, but the 10 days - yeah, they've heard. Even people I don't know know. And I'm fine with all of it. Why? Because, the reason why is - ha, I'm just kidding. It's amazing how the love and the personal stories and the human connection and understanding begins to flow when a person goes through something difficult. The more and more I go through difficult things, the more it makes me want to reach out to people who are going through difficult things and I guess that's what has driven others to pull up next to us as we do, because - guess what? They've gone through difficult things too!

The other day I walked up to the school to get Sean from a different direction than usual. I passed Lisa whose son goes to school with my oldest. She was so warm. She reached her hand out over the small children passing on the sidewalk below us and grabbed mine. She held it in such a way that it poured love into my being as she looked into my eyes with cheerful eyes and said something about never seeing me anymore and how good it was to see me. I know what she was really saying. It changed me inside.

This morning my sister's friend Val stopped in to see if I wanted to go to breakfast with her and a few mutual friends. She'd been at the restaurant where my son worked and was told by a waitress that he was sick, then she called my sister. Then a few weeks later she showed up at my door and asked me to go to breakfast and stood and chatted and pet my needy dog for 10 minutes. I know what she was really doing and I'm thankful.

This morning the kid who lives behind us texted Seth to see if he wanted to walk to school together. When has that ever happened? Never.

The other day I was at the laundramat washing a huge quilt that doesn't fit in my washer and a friend came in after me. She'd seen me in the parking lot and followed me in to hear how we were doing. She'd gone to rehab last year and she wanted to encourage me.

Then another lady came clean about problems she'd had with a child. We never knew about it, until we had a similar story to share. The stories begin to pop out of the woodwork, people willing to share and support with their own experiences and the love and understanding that's grown within from them. Shining light on things that need light.

It makes me wonder about pain. I love Henri Nouwen's The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom where he talks about pain and how it exists and how it touches everyone. It IS. It's here. It's what we live in and among. Why do we retreat and pretend when we're going through it? Because, I think, we think it's shameful or bad of us to go through pain and we don't want to spread it, either. Well, we're fooling ourselves. Other people are 1) going through pain now or 2) experienced in pain from the past or 3) will be going through it in the future. If they think otherwise, they are wrong. I think it would lift us all to share our pain. Not in complaining and flopping around in our juices, though there will be days, but in honesty. It is such a gift to be able to tell someone what you are going through and have them reach out a hand physically or through their own story or with a dinner or with a smile.

I guess perhaps we don't realize how much we need those things on a daily basis whether something's going "wrong" or not, so we - I - brush them off fairly easily, take them for granted. Then when I am broken open I see more clearly how wonderful the love of a friend is, how healing God's love is.


Mom said...

In the journey of life we have many joys and many pains. Life is sweeter when both are shared. Sounds like you are able to count your blessings and share them with those around you. That's good. And nobody really exercises everyday.

Jennie said...

Mom, Amen & LOL ;).

Paul Nichols said...

Welcome to "the club." I have learned something that may be fitting here. You decide.

1) Our perfect peace was stolen in the Garden of Eden. 2) No one has ever camped on Mt. Everest. 3) Flowers bloom in the darkest valleys.

We will always have God's Word, the Truth. And Truth trumps trials.

God bless. Thanks for sharing.

rosemary said...

OK then....Mom and Paul said all the good words....and then there is me...I liked what I said to you about dusting the chapel....that's what I'd do...go dust the chapel and pews....and I bet you/I would find a few friends there too.

I vacuum every day but Sunday....see...slacker friend.... so don't feel bad about the exercising thing.

Jennie said...

Paul, good points. Rosemary, I don't dust. Well, sometimes I do when it gets embarrassing. But anyway, you're right I'm sure. Vacuum every day but Sunday....wow. Now I feel bad again. lol

Jennie said...

Wait Paul. I'm confused. How does the camping on Mt. Everest relate? Oh, because you can't stay on the mountain top? Got it. Yeah, ain't it the truth.