A Year of Morning Thanks
For the last two days, I've been nursing a sore knee--the truth is, for the last two days, I've been nursing pain. Wait a minute, it's probably more to the point to say that for the last two days, pain has been nursing me.
Really sharp, hard pain puts a lock on your consciousness. It takes over your life, manages your affairs by simply getting rid of all of the pleasures. Pain concentrates your vision in a way that's almost laser-like. It just saunters in and takes over.
I am fearful when I walk right now, scared like I'm an old man. Ice on the roads seems hellish. To get from home to school requires steep concentration--just two blocks. Cars that go by probably rehearse the Good Samaritan story. "Geesh," they likely say, "maybe we ought to give that old bald guy a ride."
Pain is a teacher. I know why old people walk as if their toes are broken glass: they just don't want to go down. I'm not sure I'd find Chaplin's pratfalls all that hilarious right now because I don't want to crumple like some earthbound Hindenburg. So I walk almost treacherously, like an old man, nursing his pain. Which is what I am.
In my DNA there runs a streak of hypochondria as deep and wide as the Missouri River. I'm not looking for sympathy, and I'm not lying. For the last two days, I've been, really, nothing more than one grotesque and painful knee.
Eight years ago, I had back surgery. When I came out of it, I had a hitch in my gate--I haven't walked right since. This knee thing is the other leg, which leads me to believe my body's got some compensation issues. Or else there's the fact that I used to be a catcher--in baseball--whole double-headers, week after week. In little more than a week, I'll be sixty. Why create silly plot lines here? Maybe I'm just givin' out.
I've gone on long enough. Nobody likes a whiner. Belly-aching becomes no one. Besides, this morning, it's better. I'm on the mend. Well, somewhat.
It's hard to be thankful for pain--in any way shape or form. But I promised myself I'd do it--say thanks for something every morning for a year. This morning, all I am is pain, so let me give it my best shot.
After two nights of sleeping alone and one spiteful problem-child knee tucked beneath this desk, I'm thankful for this much at least: this morning, honestly, I know it's been worse. I can be really thankful for pain the moment I feel it leave.