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.)

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13 thoughts on “Idle Hands”

  1. 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!

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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!

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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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