The adventures with my knees continue. By which I mean there are many days when I can barely walk. Seriously. Getting out of bed and to the bathroom is a bigger challenge than I ever thought it could be. The arthritis devolved into two baker’s cysts, one on each knee, which is a bit like walking around on giant blisters. Inside your knees.
I’ve been resting. So much resting. And cancelling out of all my commitments that involve standing up and walking around. Because my walk looks and feels more like a lurch than an actual walk. I actually suggested that Lurch could be my new nick-name, but Alan thought that sounded a bit mean. So he’s taken to calling me Skippy whenever it’s time to go anywhere. “Come along, Skippy!” he’ll say cheerily and then wait patiently for me to lurch into view.
One day a couple of weeks ago I realized that none of what I was doing to help the situation seemed to be actually helping in any way and that this temporary glitch was dragging on a bit. I added it up. We’re talking six months, at least.
I needed to rethink my life.
There are two ways to deal with a situation that is not to your liking. One is to change the situation, to just keep pounding away at it until you’ve shaped your life to your liking. This is a very popular and much-applauded approach and I really admire the people who can do that, who never give up until they’ve wrestled their dreams/bodies/lives to the ground and made them do their bidding.
And then there are people like me. People who look at a situation that’s not to their liking and think “Maybe I need to change my approach.”
The life-wranglers might call us quitters. And most of the time, that’s what we call ourselves, or at least I do. And yet, as someone committed to learning the wisdom that life has to offer, I decided to do just that.
I’m not saying it was easy. It involved a 3:00 AM freak out (I went to the bathroom and then had to come back) with Alan wrapped, squid-like around me as I wept and worried. “How can I do the market? How can I get to Wellspring (the cancer-support centre where I volunteer as a Reiki practitioner)?”
“Is this the week we call Frances?” Alan asked. Frances had been offering since before Christmas to do the market for me. She’s run her own restaurant. She speaks three languages. She’d helped out on busy weekends. Our market stall could not be in better hands. “Is this the week you call in sick to Wellspring?”
The silence was longer and far more painful than I would have thought possible. I was doing battle with myself. Or, my life-wrangler was doing battle with the life-student. Finally, the student won. “Yes,” I said quietly.
And, bit by bit, I divested myself of commitments. Temporarily, you understand. Just until I feel better.
But the thing with baker’s cysts? They take a really long time to heal. And sometimes they don’t. I finally broke down and Googled that little bit of information. It took a few days to digest. And then I thought. “This is my life now.” Limited mobility. Shorts bursts of energy followed by a strong need to recover.
I still hold out hope that it all will improve. I still do the things that my team tells me will improve the situation.
But in the meantime, I had to build a new life for myself. My days at the bakery are over. My Reiki practice is on hold. What could I do sitting down that would engage me and maybe make some money?
A few years ago, I had started making and selling cards at our Sunday Market. They went over well and I had fun doing them. So I dug out my supplies and started to work. Worked for an hour or so and had a nap. Posted some of the finished product to my Facebook page. Sold a few. Sold some more.
It’s not what I was planning to do. It’s not how I foresaw this year unfolding.
But in the life-student approach, there comes a time when you just have to embrace what is. Grab it and shape it to that which serves you best. Or, actually, you let what is embrace you. Grab you and shape you to that which serves it best. And in doing that, I’ve found, you discover the way that life can serve you. You allow your life to be wise.