I went for a walk this morning. I know that doesn't sound like any big deal, but it's only been the last two weeks that I've been able to walk without pain and without a limp. I've had problems since at least the beginning of April.
Going up and down stairs was the worst. I had to maneuver the stairs like I did when I had my knee replaced: placing each foot on the same stair before being able to move to the next one. It took me forever to go up or down a set of stairs, and since the only bathroom in my house was on the second floor, I didn't dare wait too long when I felt the urge! And let's not talk about how challenging it was to do laundry, when the washer and dryer were in the basement and I had to carry the laundry basket down two flights of stairs while trying to hold on to the railing at the same time! ( I really do appreciate the one level living of my condo!)
The knee pain that was so debilitating initially was caused by not walking properly, and so I got orthotics to put in my shoes to correct the problem. However, they take a while to work, and in the meantime, I took a nasty fall at the beginning of July which injured both knees and also my right arm. (Yes, amidst all the packing and lifting for the move, I walked with a limp and didn't have full use of my right arm!) I was beginning to think I was never going to be able to walk without pain again.
So imagine my relief, and surprise, when two weeks ago I got up and the pain in my knee was gone! I guess the orthotics were finally kicking in, and I'd also had a distance Reiki session from Marty Brennan, during which he focused on my left knee (It was the worst.) and my arm. I'm sure Marty's healing vibes helped a lot too! What an incredible joy to be able to walk without pain again!
Interesting though, how until we can't, we do things like walking and running and throwing and lifting without much thought. We simply take it for granted that our bodies will work the way we expect them to work, and don't really appreciate the gift of being able to do what we're able to do, even if what we are able to do is limited.
This realization really hit me hard the day I spent six hours at the DMV waiting in line to get my driver's license. I had to wait in line for an hour and twenty minutes just to get a ticket that would entitle me to get served! When I finally got my ticket, the time stamp said 12:15 PM, and there was a sentence underneath the time stamp that said there were twenty-seven people ahead of me who were also there to transfer their licenses to Tennessee! I knew it was going to be a long wait.
I had to stand for the entire time as I waited to get my ticket, and I was worried that standing so long was going to cause the pain in my knee to come back. There wasn't even a wall to lean against, and the room was jam packed with people. Along with those of us waiting to transfer our licenses, there were others who were getting their licenses for the first time, and people who were simply renewing their licenses. There was a sign that kept us informed about how many people in total were waiting to be served, and at the time I got my ticket, that sign reported there were fifty-eight of us altogether! It was obvious that no one expected such a long wait, because there were parents with small children, and even entire families that had accompanied the one person who needed the services at the DMV. One young mother, who was already there when I arrived, had to breast feed her little girl three times while she was there, because the wait was so long.
I finally got my ticket and was able to get a seat, relieved that I could take the weight off my knee. I could already feel it beginning to ache. Trying to take my focus off my own discomfort, I began to look around the room at some of the others who were also waiting. That's when I noticed her. She was a tiny woman: even sitting down it was easy to see how small she was. And if her small stature wasn't enough to catch my eye, the beautiful green and gold sari that she wore certainly did the trick. But as I looked closer, it was the deep calm and peacefulness that she seemed to effortlessly exude that truly held my attention.
I knew I was staring, so I made myself look away, but I couldn't keep my eyes off her. There was just something about her. She was with a group of people, family members I assumed, and as serene and calm as she was, they were just as loud and fidgety, obviously anxious to be done with their business and out of there.
Another young woman who was a part of that group suddenly stood up, said something to the woman I had been watching, turned and headed toward the counter. As the woman in the sari began to move to stand up, I saw her reach down and pick up a long stick (It looked like the branch of a tree.) that must have been on the floor beside her. As I watched, she cradled it in her left arm, and reaching across her body with her right hand, grasped the top of the stick and gently levered herself upward, using the stick to maintain her balance. It was only when she began walking that I realized she had only one leg!
She moved with such grace and surety that I knew she'd been walking that way for a very long time. And that peacefulness and calm was still evident as she made her own way up to the counter, unaided. As I watched her go, I thought of all the complaining I'd done since my knee pain had started; how hopeless I'd felt at times, wondering if I was ever going to be able to walk normally again; and how angry at God I'd been when the pain was at its worst, and I had so much to do to get ready to move. Watching her, I felt humbled and a bit ashamed. Even though I had been in pain, I still had both my legs, and they were both still usable, even though a bit limited, and I'd still had good reason to believe that one day I'd be walking just fine again. Instead of being grateful for what I had, for what I could do, too often I'd allowed myself to focus on what I couldn't do, which did nothing but bring me down and limit me even more!
I'm very grateful that I was able to take a walk this morning. Ever since that experience at the DMV, I've made a bigger effort to appreciate all the little things, the everyday things, the things that so often I've taken for granted. I'm pretty good at offering up a prayer of gratitude for the big things. I think most of us are. But I know I often let the little things go without a thought. I'm hoping that by being more often in a state of gratitude, it will also make it easier for me to be in that calm and peaceful state that was so evident in that tiny little lady in the beautiful green and gold sari. I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to be in her presence that day, even if it did mean a six hour wait at the DMV.