After a fall, sometimes all you can do is pick yourself up and keep going. Sometimes you need to dismiss the pain, take a deep breath, and put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes you need to show more courage than you feel in order to keep going. And sometimes you need to let your pain show and your weakness be exposed.
Today I fell. Unable to mask the pain because my neck and shoulder issues are too serious, I was able to disguise enough of the pain to continue with my meeting and then to have dinner afterward. At first I just wanted to go home, because I knew how bad that fall really was to my body. Pain was shooting down my back and not just through my shoulder, though that was bad enough. I knew, however, that as soon as I got home I’d break down, and I did not want to do that. I didn’t want to spend the evening in pain and broken. So I shaved off an hour, distracted myself with good food and company, and ignored the pain and shakes.
As an adult, we rarely have the luxury to be sick or hurt. Work, responsibilities and life wait for nothing or no one. Yet sometimes brokenness happens. In this case, it was physical. In other cases, it is far more complex. For me, this particular physical brokenness highlighted how much I absolutely hate being weak.
For decades I treated personal weakness as the greatest sin imaginable. Others could be weak, but I could not be. If I was weak (which of course I was) then I would deal with it in private, not letting anyone know. Clearly that was a recipe of disaster.
I’ve learned how to embrace my weakness, in all its forms. I’ve learned that my weakness is what will keep me approachable, humble, and connected to others. Yet it is not easy. I don’t do weak well nor easily. My tolerance for pain is quite high. My ability to ignore an ache has been cultivated over many years. Still weakness is not something that sits easily with me.
But tonight I am weak. The pain has eased, but it was greater than I let on. Now I’m simply tired of keeping it at bay. Tonight I let my pain out, so that in the morning I can start anew.