I Sing the Body Electric, Ministry, Mothering, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Roomy Toe Boxes

Idle Hands

Last year, on January 1, 2008, I wrote:

This year, I hope to find more time to simply be where I am, to listen
to what is around me, to let my hands be, at least for short periods,
idle, and my heart open to what comes next.

I got my hope, in a way I never expected. Because I could not use them, I sat with my hands in my lap. I felt, and could not avoid feeling it, disappointment and sadness. I saw my efforts at self-care in terms of diet and exercise supplanted by medication and side effects.

I grieved.

In the midst of it, I got up every day and went to work. I wrote sermons. I wrote things other than sermons. I visited parishioners. I ran and attended meetings, meetings, meetings. I read books and I read scripture. I slept more than I have in years, even naps.

I managed to knit, but much less than I would have liked.

I learned to live with pain, and I learned to ask for help when I really needed it, even if I didn’t want to ask.

I learned to trust the people I love to love me in return even when I couldn’t do all the things for them I wanted to, and even when I tried to do those things and failed. I believed in their love, mostly.

After a tough spring and summer, I looked up one day in the fall and realized that although I face challenges related to RA, I’m not unhappy. I’m not unhappy.

I hope to feel better in 2009. I hope to feel well enough to return to my “Don’t Let’s Call It a Diet” self-care, alongside my “Wish I Didn’t Have to Wear Shoes With Roomy Toe Boxes” self-care. I hope to move on to the next ministry job, whatever it might be and whenever it might happen, with energy and enthusiasm

(And I hope whoever is in charge of the hopes I express here is reading the “feel well enough” part.)

13 thoughts on “Idle Hands”

  1. Yep, our bodies are great teachers if we will only listen. Hard for me to do, of course. Hugs

  2. I like shoes. Roomy and comfortable AND pointy and torturous.
    So I really have to thank/curse you for sending me to that Barking Dog shoe blog a while back. Cute! Comfortable! Expensive!
    If my body is trying to tell me anything, I’ve still pretty much got my fingers in my ears while I sing “LALALAlalala.”
    You’re SO much more evolved than I am!

  3. Your hands may not do as much physically as they once did, {{{{Songbird}}}}, but metaphorically speaking, they are the least idle hands that I’ve ever seen. They are always holding and shaping and playing and leading and comforting.

  4. May all of your hopes be realized and then some in 2009!
    And let’s meet somewhere and go shoe shopping — there are lots of cute shoes with wide toe boxes!
    Blessings on the coming year!

  5. My experience with arthritis is minor compared to yours–I have osteo in one wrist–but I was diagnosed at 25, so I’ve been living with it for 12 years. I know how clearly it tells me to listen to my body: in my case, I gave up massage in order to keep knitting and typing. I haven’t regretted that choice–it was an easy one, really–but I know that I closed a door in order to keep others open.

  6. Thank you for sharing this emotional journey with us. I found it very moving. I hope you that all your wishes for 2009 come true.

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