My quietness has not been because of problems. We all have those, and mine are no more or less important or serious or frivolous than yours. Instead, I haven’t blogged because I haven’t felt I had anything useful to say.
Strange, that. I’ve left comments of encouragement and compassion, humor and kindness, on other blogs, but haven’t felt compelled to expand on any of those comments here. It’s all been said already, hasn’t it?
My life is full of mundane, everyday moments. I wake up early in the morning, groaning softly with frustration and yes, pain, as I turn over for the hundredth time since slipping into bed the night before, trying to ease the low ache in my hips. I’m wide awake, wishing I could relax and be comfortable, enjoy the dim, peaceful, dawn quiet, but that’s just not going to happen. My body is yelling at me. I get up. My first steps are stilted and stiff. My legs and ankles aren’t quite ready for smooth movement. But they eventually decide to cooperate. I put my physical being out of my mind.
A little later I’m filling the water jug from the sink, preparing to make coffee. I turn off the tap, lift the jug and yelp as the joints in my right wrist and hand protest at the weight. Quickly, I add my other hand to the effort, taking the jug in both hands rather than just one. Two-handed, I pour the fresh water into my electric kettle and flip the switch to start heating it, shaking my head at myself. When will using both hands to do the job of one become a thoughtless, automatic habit? Soon, I hope.
Later still, I’m taking my dog, Finny McCool, out on his morning constitutional. He trots along, ears flapping, tail up, wiry fur tousled and goofy and sticking up all over, his nose busy with the new smells of the day. Just watching him makes me grin. And then, with no warning, a hot spike stabs my right knee, causing me to catch my breath and stagger for a second. Yeow! Oh, no! Another step, another spike … and then it’s gone. I walk on, glad for the reprieve, but now my good mood has been modified. It’s not gone, but I’m wary. Rheumatoid arthritis, even when it’s not causing active pain and disability, never allows me to forget it’s there, waiting in the wings to surprise me. To slow me down. To remind me that I’m mortal.
My mom will be 79 next month. She’s very active and incredibly healthy, but she strained a muscle in her back last Sunday evening as she took her chest of good silver down from a cupboard, preparing to set the table for a family get-together. She didn’t say much about it, but it was clear that moving around hurt her. So rather than going home, I stayed with her this week, taking her to the doctor, plying her with heating pads and ice packs, offering doses of ibuprofen, making meals, and keeping her company as we waited for the hurt muscle to calm down and heal. We did a lot of talking and laughing, reminiscing about times past, about my late father, about the state of the world today. It was a good, gentle time. It felt good to be the caregiver for a change, to attend to her needs and return a little of the love and compassion she’s given me so much of throughout my life.
Sometimes I need reminding to move outside of myself, to stop paying so much attention to my own troubles. Life is good. I’m strong. Walking in peace and in beauty is my job today – and every day.
I’ve waited for words. I’m glad.