Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Other than the pain

My body is working fine. My muscles, my nerves, my respiratory system, my brain. All functioning and thriving.

My mood is joyful, serene. I have energy and inspiration.

Only—my leg and part of my back are in constant pain right now. And while I am pursuing healing and relief in various ways, I can't be sure when or how or if it will end.

The other night I was lying in bed, trying to sleep while the pain noodled around in my leg. I thought, how can I relax, how can I sleep when I am feeling this way?

So I started considering all the parts of my body that were functioning normally, without pain, starting with my good leg. And as I ran my mind over all the healthy, comfortable parts of my body and my mind, peace overtook me, and then sleep.

In my relationships, particularly with my kids, whatever is painful or dysfunctional seems to eclipse the good, to obliterate it. Lying in bed recovering, I watch these tiny people buzz around me and see that they are beautiful, that they have humorously precocious vocabularies, that their make-believe is endlessly entertaining. That they love each other and that they are beginning to grapple with life’s big questions. How much do the tantrums, the bedtime struggles, the sibling violence figure into that equation?

Also, my mother and stepdad just came for a visit. My mom and I had a lot of fun together, walking around Jerusalem and looking in stores—our favorite shared activity. It was a joy showing my parents my little corner of Jerusalem and hearing their stories about past trips here. My children were in heaven with their Grammie and Grandpa, and it was mutual.

And yet my mother might agree (and will probably weigh in through the comments when she gets home from the rest of her trip), that experiencing the visit that way, as wholly positive, is a constant effort. Nothing is more fraught and multilayered than the parent-child relationship, as I continue to discover on both ends.

I aspire to know that I am growing and becoming greater through my physical pain, through the ways my children test me, through the challenge of being a responsible and respectful daughter. But in the meantime, I am not even contending with that part of the picture.

I am setting aside the hurt leg and meditating on the strong arms, the quick mind, the husband who hangs the laundry because I can’t, the mushy kiss on the cheek, the “air fist bump” from a stepfather determined to respect my religious boundaries, the perfect candlesticks that my mother couldn’t help purchasing just because I loved them and she loves me. The sunrise over Jerusalem that makes me squint and tear up. Thank You. Thank You.


Rivka said...

Thank you, Chaya, for your beautiful and inspiring words which make me "squint and tear up. Thank You. Thank You." said...

just what I needed to read. thanks chaya, I'm tearing up too:)

Edith Rothschild said...

Respect! You are doing the work, walking the walk, putting your money where your mouth is. Good for you!!! May Hashem relieve your back and leg pain and send you a less painful catalyst for growth (is there such I thing? If so, I haven't found it yet).

Chaya Esther Ort

Unknown said...

Thank you for your beautiful and appreciative words and gratitude for the little, meaningful things that everone else overlooks. Thank you for the reminder of how precious and sweet are the imaginings of children as they put one foot in front of the other to discover the world around them.
What a gift to lead them...yet know they belong to Hashem.

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