We hold up in high regard those warriors on the athletic field who play through injury and pain. Impressive? Admirable? Sure.
But I see daily those whose pain is constant. Dull and then biting. Chronic. Genetic or illness-born. A product of a physiology fragile. Complex and mysterious.
They are among the heroes. They wake and face the day. Moving and stretching and finding ways to negotiate with their nemesis. They shower and make breakfast and raise their children. Go to work and labor through the tribulations of the day. They exercise to heal or to thrive in spite of the trials or to balance the pain here or the pain there.
Then, one day, after sucking it up and smiling through it, after finding ways to get the most out of life when the body says “I don’t want to,” after navigating through the maze of symptoms and root causes and the plethora of treatments, your patience and determination pays off. For the lucky few there is a potion in a script. A chemical cocktail that finds its paradoxical match.
Then, there is the victory dance. Hands moving freely. A morning wake without the long moments of adapting to the body’s need to move and greet the challenges ahead—holding a cup, writing a sentence, grabbing the wheel of a car, holding a hand, lifting a bag from the store. Things most of us take for granted.
Watching the ebb and flow has its emotional rhythm. Your quiet fight does not and did not go unnoticed. It isn’t the entertainers or the entrepreneurs or the athletes who command the respect stored in me. It is those who fight for our lives to live, and those who live to fight their own battles. You who war against demons that strike the mind or the toxins that grow and invade and steal us away. The spoils of injury. The aching that loiters and occupies the space between.
I watch with a quiet and empathic awe.
I am glad for you. I am inspired by you. I will do this work that might bring others to a place with less suffering and remember your example. Just wanted you to know.