Saturday, September 13, 2008


A friend and I were discussing the other day about various health issues I've had lately. The most recent event was my falling down my cement porch steps about a week ago, resulting in a sprained ankle and lots of bruising. (My daughter had been playing with some rocks on the steps and I did not see them there in the dark when I went for a walk in the misty rain.) Anyway, being the good friend that she is, my friend let me rant and rave of the unfairness of it all.

Within the past year I also severely sprained the same knee twice -- just doing average things like canoeing and playing basketball. I didn't have time for those injuries (who does?), and now this. I suppose I can take comfort in thinking that the odds should be in my favor now. I’ve condensed a bunch of bad stuff in one year, and so the rest of my life should be smooth sailing! (No? Okay, well then, maybe just a few years in a row, perhaps?)

Anyway, the day after I fell down those very hard, unforgiving cement steps, I was in a lot pain. Oh, and also in a lot of PMS. The combination gave me powerful incentive to feel sorry for myself. Thank God it was a Saturday and my kids could help me while I iced and elevated my sore spots. (Picture me attempting to levitate on the couch. I hurt all over.)

Midday, I hobbled to the kitchen for medicinary purposes and thought, well, red wine sounds more enjoyable than popping a couple ibuprofen. And so I, who rarely have more than a glass or two, had half a bottle of red wine that afternoon and took a nice, cozy nap on the couch. (Thanks to my lovely children, who stayed relatively quiet.... I think.)

Sunday came and I felt somewhat better, but was still hobbling around, frustrated by all the stuff I should be doing and by all the rooms I should be cleaning, and by the kids who really are not bothered by dirty dishes and clutter at all.

It was that afternoon when I got the call from my friend. We talked of all sorts of things, including how hockey mom Sarah Palin can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan ... how she simultaneously looks composed and beautiful, with young children and a husband in tow, while campaigning for the country’s Number Two spot. How can she do it? Here I was that weekend, looking at the crumbs on my kitchen floor and thinking, hmmmm, should I endure the pain it would take to hobble over and grab the broom and dust pan or use that pain endurance to go to the bathroom? I opted for the bathroom.

As my friend and I continued to discuss our lives, with its diversions, distractions, and various frustrations, she said, “You know, Pat, a sprained ankle doesn’t have to keep you from writing.” Alrighty, I was caught. I had a choice to make. I could waste time continuing to feel sorry for poor me because of all this stuff. Or I could acknowledge that, although I don’t get to choose what life throws at me, I still can choose how to respond. In doing so, I give myself a level of control over my life that I want...that I need. So, would I respond with a right attitude, or would I continue to wallow?

Maybe simply continuing to put one foot in front of the other, even when I’m hobbling, can be my forte? It won’t win me any accolades, but perhaps this is the lesson I can teach my children. Just to keep going. If it is, then these recent events will not have been in vain.


Bob said...

Pat, writing--effective writing--is a skill that is not universal. I once remarked to my daughters that writing clearly will allow a person to earn an extra $10k annually no matter what field they enter. My youngest actually proved me correct. (At 27, she is the director at Baldwin-Wallace's pre-school with an enrollment of over 400.)

Now - you are not going to hear from me about the sunny skies and all that sort of thing. I've been through so much in life I am amazed at how it ever got to be the way it was. I am hearing some of that in your message.

I will say this...

Experiences, tough or happy, should always be expected and serve as a right of passage. They make for wisdom and a more introspective outlook. They will help your writing and creativity.

Go read "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. The way will become clear.

Pat said...

Thanks Bob. I've wanted to read that book for quite a while. Must get to it. There are many things that I could write about right now, but nothing that seems appropriate to put in this blog.

"Experiences, tough or happy, should always be expected and serve as a right of passage." Yes they do. And I also believe that God can redeem any and all experiences in life. Everything can work for good in the end, if we offer it up to the Spirit in the Sky....(that's where I'm gonna go when I die... when I die and they lay me to rest, I'm gonna go to the place that's the best...)