This seems like such an unlikely time for me to attempt to be inspiring, which is what I suppose is what I do with this blog; or at least try to do. I have an extremely painful back from taking our dear little puppy to the vet’s yesterday. I couldn’t find his leash so he had to be taken in his small portable kennel. It’s amazing how much a four pound dog can weigh when in a kennel, jiggling around each moment of the walk to the car. I had to traipse through mud to get to the car. It sounds like such a small act but when you’re dealing with a fracture of the spine, it becomes large and heavy. Fear of falling is an ever present companion of mine and has been for many years now. Driving, sitting at the vets and socializing, all the while attempting to look normal, whatever that is; demands payment. Today, I am paying.
There is currently a cement mixer, an emorous road truck with treads like a tank and many construction men with orange helmets working outside my window. There is a strange rumbling in here as the floor and bed shake. Since I always write you while lying down, it adds a whole new dimension, sort of like those beds at motels where you insert a quarter for the shake of your life. I never understood that, nor will I ever.
We are having two dry days, beginning today, therefore I have kind painters sanding and painting our front door and porch, as well as the back porch. Our older dog, Jakie, is keeping watch for me, vocalizing when provoked, always on duty. How often I take his faithfulness for granted.
I often find the big things, occasions, decisions in life too overwhelming, don’t you? By having to slow down, accept caution and change in my life, it has taught me many things. May I chat about a few of those?
1. It truly is the little things that count. When we take the time to open our eyes and consider what truly matters, they are often small. This is true for the good and the bad. A wrinkle in a sheet beneath your sitter can feel like a plank. Bending the wrong way can cause a week or two of trouble. The wrong food can keep you awake all night. For me that can be a speck of pepper or a tiny fruit seed. The wrong pair of shoes can throw your alignment off and cause your stance to change. We are designed to stand upright and not bend. When one part of us becomes defective, we can begin to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s a strange perpendicular view of life. Sounds like fun but it causes us to fall and only leads to more “cracks” and problems with bones, organs, etc.
Forgive me if this sounds a bit vulgar but truth is truth. We have a new toilet at our house. It was recommended to us to get a taller toilet. I found the other day when trying out our new throne that one of my feet hit the floor, the other did not. Yes, I still have two feet, among my other accomplishments thus far. I was experiencing unusual back pain from the fracture but as life tends to do, my other problems remained. Life can be so unfair, can it not, but I gave in to that argument long ago. One of my longest tortures has been a misalignment of the sacroiliac joints; those joints one sits upon. One of the many amazing and helpful facts I have learned from an excellent physical therapist is that when one’s SI joints are misaligned, one leg can be shorter than the other. That evening I asked Jim who is well versed in this weirdness that is my life, to look at my legs. To do this I lie down on the bed, not looking down so I won’t cheat, and try to lie as straight and aligned as possible. If my ankles meet, that’s a good thing. This week, they did not. He said, “No, your left leg is about an inch shorter than your right.” I am used to this sort of thing and both Jim and I know what to do.
There is a fulcrum like pulling that is required and he know how to do it, as we learned from the physical therapist. It involves stabilizing the knee and pulling on the femur, the long bone of the leg which meets the hip. This strange somewhat medieval “rack” manipulation has to be performed on both legs, much like one would open a stuck bureau drawer. When one has bad ankles and bad knees, it can often be a bit of a trick to find something to grab onto, much to my chagrin. I hate to compare myself to a greased pig in a pig catching contest at the county fair, but it does come to mind.
My point is that an inch of misalignment, or something being out of place by even less than an inch can cause misery. Think of all the little irritants in life such as a pebble in your shoe, a paper cut, a blister, a rash from many causes, are all small but irritating and sometimes, even dangerous. Many years ago, one of the sons of one of our Presidents died from a blister on his foot.
I think it’s very important to remember that small things can also be wonderful. One kernel of corn can grow into a stalk, one flower seed can grow into a thing of beauty and nurture the soul, the hug of a small child can bring indescribable joy to the heart, and a kiss planted at the right moment, by the right person can warm one’s heart. A quarter given to a needy person can have the value of a silver dollar. A new shoelace can keep one from tripping. The correctly diagnosed medication, although small, can help us make it through the day.
WHAT THE HEART HOLDS
In the breast of a bulb
Is the promise of spring.
In the little blue egg
Is a bird that will sing.
In the soul of a seed
Is the hope of the sod.
In the soul of a child
Is the kingdom of God.
Written by William L. Stidger
Would you do a favor for me today? Would you look around you, taking in all you see, hear and feel and find just twenty small things or experiences that give you joy or fill you with awe? Write them down to read again the next time you feel overwhelmed by it all.
2. I’ve discovered there is no such thing as an action that is too small. Often when I am discouraged I make it a point to get out among others. So often, just helping someone at the market reach a can above his head, moving a cart out of the way or merely letting someone pass before you in line, can reward the heart. I often become too self-centered in this life of pain and think I am the only one who feels, who suffers or who has problems. I am not. Simply contact the Wounded Warrior Project if you believe you are alone in your plight.
It is a two way street, this act of being a human being. A smile given to a sad person can brighten their day and make them feel less disconnected. Perhaps, if each of us could retrieve some of the manners of past times and say goodbye to rudeness, it would make each of us feel better. It only takes a moment to thank a checker at the market for bagging your groceries carefully. I often wonder what is going on in the mind of the guy that has to pass you on a curve in such a great hurry to get somewhere because you usually see him again at the next stop light. I wonder what ugliness lives in the heart of the poor soul who complains about everything while standing in line at the market. I ask myself what is accomplished by so many acts of violence in our society and marvel at what is missing from so many human hearts.
It is true, many of us have much to complain about, but does it ever truly help? I find I often turn the channel when the news is on because those same reporters keep beating those same causes when really, all of it is anger and talk. Acts of love, kindness, courtesy and faith in our fellows can bring joy to the heart. I need joy, don’t you?
If my life is to be one of pain, then I choose joy over hurt, kindness over the rudeness I may feel, and forgiveness in place of the anger that is always trying to rush in. Small decisions can have large results.