“I had a strange thing happen to me this morning.”
“What was that?” Denny asked
“I was stretching in bed, trying to get the kinks out of my back. I was crouching with my knees under me and my head resting in my hands but I had my hands turned inward at a right angle and suddenly my right hand was locked in that position. I couldn’t move it without incredible pain. I though to myself, What if I lose the use of my hand?”
“Pretty scary thought,” Denny is a banjo player.
I thought of all the things I wouldn’t be able to do and the first one that came to me was I wouldn’t be able to keep on working at my job. Most of my work involves typing. I also thought I wouldn’t be able to play piano, or paint.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the losses in my life. To lose the use of my hand would be unbearable. A friend of mine broke her wrist skating, recently. I hope that never happens to me.
“So what happened?”
“Well, it’s kind of funny, because I had just been thinking about losses in my life. Thinking about how to respond to them.”
Denny has a gift for rising above his circumstances. He always looks at the bright side. I, on the other hand, analyze everything, careful not leave any rock un-turned.
I believe that we have feelings for a reason. Even sad feelings.
I don’t necessarily need to express these feelings, but I want to understand them and know what to do about them.
“As I was lying there, not able to move without my hand hurting, I started to pray. I said, God, I can’t bear to lose my hand.’ I began to see how valuable the use of my hand is to me and how drastically my life would change if I wasn’t able to use it. I tried to move it again, but the pain was incredible and I knew I would injure it more if I moved it. I needed to figure out a way to get it out of that position without pain.”
“I know you’ve talked to me about compound injuries before.”
I’ve told Denny that sometimes when we injure ourselves we need to be still, because if we move we will do more damage. If we are still the muscles can relax, and our body can tell us how to move. But if we move against the pain we might cause more injury.
“I guess it was an epiphany moment. I suddenly remembered what Mrs. Krenz told me a few years ago about contentment.”
I highly respect Mrs. Krenz, but I admit that sometimes conversations with her leave me feeling unsettled. The last time I saw her, she was at the door, about to leave, when she turned to me and said, “My husband and I are not compatible, but we have some good times.”
The comment came out of the blue. We had not talked about husbands, or compatibility. I pondered it, after she left, thinking I needed to make some sort of life application.
“I know it probably sounds like a really little thing,” I went on telling Denny, “Something that I should have gotten a long time ago, but it came to me that I should be content.” Mrs. Krenz called me one day, about ten years ago, and told me she had a word for me. It was contentment.
“Contentment is good.”
“Like I said, I wanted to know how to respond to stuff in my life. A few moments after that I rotated my hand downwards and turned my palm up and I was out of the painful position. Believe me, I was very content in that moment.”
Denny laughed. There was a sparkle in his eye.
Denny is always looking out for my best, even if he doesn’t always get what that is. He is familiar with some of my discontent. Discontentment over our small place, for instance.
“I’m really glad you were able to get your movement in your hand back.”
“Yeah. You realize what you have when you are about to lose it.”
I’d much rather have the use of my hand than a bigger place. Contentment.