Ragged and the Beauty

Day 3 of a Migraine and I am worn ragged. My thoughts turn to all those in chronic pain, and I can’t imagine how they make it through each day.

When I creep down the stairs in my sunglasses, I discover that the ants are feasting on the watermelon that my husband left out, and I am livid. It doesn’t matter that he’s graciously picked up all the slack since my headache came on.

I’m really not fit for human company, and that makes me wonder how those with ongoing pain manage… relationship.

I am fair-weather human. I’m at my best when I feel well.  Kindness and gentility are my nature. But take away a night’s sleep or a day’s productivity, and I sour.

The simplest tasks overwhelm me. The little inconvenience. The noise of campers across the pond.

Yet in this soured state, I open to beauty. Perhaps not inside me, but all around me–in the hummingbirds and dragonflies busy in the garden, in the sweet call of the thrush from the dark woods, in the glistening of the moon on these wonderfully clear nights.

What discourages me most is the inability to rise to the glory that is all around me. There is no Carpe Diem in my step. And I feel like I’m missing out.

This is particularly true in a Vermont summer–because it is so short-lived! Miss a series of sunny days, and you may not see another stretch like this for weeks; or at all.

I’m old enough to have learned that seizing a day or basking in glory is not always about action. I know that when I surrender to the couch, I discover the beauty in the ordinary–which otherwise I miss.  And I know that my resistance causes more pain. But it’s hard to resist feeling miserable when the world is so contrastingly wonder-FULL outside.

I’m willing to try.

Kelly Salasin, July 2011

For more on Pain as a Teacher, click here.

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