Under billowy clouds, I limped through my route yesterday. I’m having an RA flare in which my toes, especially on my left foot, feel broken. It is painful to take a full stride and my usual gait has been altered as I catch myself walking on the side of my foot to avoid full contact with the pavement. The joints, even on the bottom of my feet, are painful and swollen.
The first thing I thought to do was “talk” to my feet. My Gramps was a firm believer that “your mind has incredible power over your body”. No argument here. It is the harnessing of that power that seems challenging. Some well chosen, kind words directed at the offending appendage should do the trick. Right ?
I did it. With a nod to Gramps I had a full-on conversation with that damn left foot. Did it help ? Maybe.
But I did something else too.
Very early Thursday morning a good friend wrote to share with me that her mom had passed away Tuesday night. It was a heartbreak to hear. My friend had given up her postal job several years ago to stay home and care for her. It was one of the most loving, selfless acts I have ever witnessed. But it was not a surprise. I understood. And her mother was pure joy.
My friend is Muslim and taught me so much in the years we were close. We walked most mornings before work at the little park up the road. We talked about family and life. She helped me understand a lot about her faith. After 911, I went to her mosque. After the Supreme Court ruling, she came to my wedding. Because of her I am a better person.
So yesterday I thought about Ramadan. A joyous month of spiritual growth. I know it has passed for this calendar year, but it got me to thinking.
It is a reminder of our spiritual selves during physical discomfort. At least that’s how I came to understand it. Even in our brokenness we can find gratitude. Even in the experience of great loss, we can find the blessing. And even with a really messed up foot, I too can find grace.
My days are slowly beginning the shift from mindless to mindful. In a few short months everything will be different. Everything will change.
More surrendering to what is …
I’ve taken to carrying four quarters in my pocket along with my small heart charm. As I enter the next chapter of my life, they are significant in that they represent a subtle (or maybe not so subtle) shift in my everyday life. Less is more. I’ve always said “I’d rather have four quarters than 20 nickels”. Casual acquaintances will give way to more meaningful friendships. (Or at least the time to pursue them) It’s okay to tighten the circle. Four quarters.
This morning I’m still talking to that foot. I’m trying to remain mindful and find gratitude even in the moments I have discomfort.
And I’m thinking of my friend and her family this morning with thanks and love.