Playing Through the Pain
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~Francis of Assisi
Having had the immensely satisfying experience of power washing the back porch last weekend, I was delighted to learn I could hang on to the big machine a few more days.
The days were sunny, my attitude was psyched and so one project led to another and eventually the entire dock and upstairs sun deck gleamed warm brown instead of sickly green.
However, along the way, after having refilled the gas and needing to restart the machine, I got her going but lost my grip on the heavy-duty pull cord handle and it recoiled hard and fast like a hammer – into my left ankle bone.
My ankle turned a beautiful shade of blue within minutes and I knew, once I’d caught my breath and stopped cursing like a drunken sailor, that this was more than a bruised bone.
That was last Tuesday. It’s now yellow, but I can walk again, sort of; this’ll take several weeks.
But here’s the thing: I gimped my way back down to the dock and finished the job on Wednesday. Because you can’t walk away from a big job so close to completing it, even if you’re limping, or at least, I can’t.
Two long days later, after much Tylenol and ice, I limped back down to the now dried dock and surveyed the results of my efforts. I could not believe how much had been accomplished, bit by bit, despite the pain.
My long-winded point:
We—the human species—have chipped our collective ankle bone and we’re gimping around after being slammed by the pandemic, climate change, racial unrest, political upheaval, economic implosion, and uncertainty about the future.
We lost our grip on the pull cord and it has recoiled with a vengeance.
Some of us are complaining, whining and waiting for someone else to fix things.
Some of us are complacent, pretending things aren’t so bad or just wishing it would all go away.
Some of us are corrosive, angry and anxious about the future, infecting others with our fear.
And some of us are committed, doing the work despite the pain, determined to finish the damn job.
This is the new normal for a very long time, to learn how to live while we limp toward an uncertain future.
And right now, we must all learn how to play through the pain and do what’s necessary.
It’s the only way to tackle the seemingly impossible.