the hard place

June 10, 2010

I was at Trader Joe's this afternoon, when the gentleman working the check- out asked me what I was doing today. "I just got off work, and I'm going to go home and go running," I said.

He looked at me sideways - "for fun?"

I smiled, "well..."

"You're one of those people!?"

I laughed, "I'm just trying to get back in shape for a trip to Africa."

That got him off on a tangeant about his cousin that used to travel with the Red Cross.

Works every time.

A friend recently wrote, in her "On being a woman," that her favorite quote was, "Sometimes you just have to go to the hard place and stay there."

The past few weeks have felt like that hard place. Different from other hard places, this one has purpose. This one is a choice. I'm staying here - eating differently, living differently, trying to think differently, because I'd like to get well - physically, mentally, emotionally. I'm tired of being exhausted - emotionally, physically, mentally. Tired of, like the doctor says, "running on half empty." Mainly, that's just it - I'm tired.

This week was another doctor's appointment - another "you might have picked something up in Africa that's still hurting your stomach," another, "this must be from last year's mono." Another, "your body responds to stress, you need to simplify."

The difference was in the words, "I'd be the last person to tell you not to go. I should have done what you're doing. Let's get you ready."

I grinned.

This week is a new beginning: a new diet, a new set of supplements and a new diagnosis - another meeting on the couches on the west side of a well known medical building with my therapist. Today's another run to the park fifteen or so blocks away - another hamstring stretch on the same fire hydrant, another calf extension on the same curb. It's another sweaty trip to the shower. C'mon body, we've got places to go. Let's heal.

Mom and I almost had a fight today. Discouragement and frustration seem to be kissing cousins in my life. She told me to ride it out - try it all once more, stick with it this time. I nodded, even if she couldn't see me, took another swig of my half drank carrot juice. I put my quoina salad on the top shelf of the fridge, my goat milk on the second. I got out my running shoes. All these feeling under the weather gets me focused on what isn't working. Mom reminded me - "you slept better than you have in years, these last two nights."

I've oft been giving up on trying cause the hard place feels long. It feels, already, like a gaping chasm filled with carrot juice and weekends without beer or ice cream. It's only been two days.

Emotionally, the hard place feels the same way sometimes - this big, aching chasm of holding my ground, holding my line, waiting for change. Every woman knows this place - the place of active waiting, perhaps for nothing. But then, I didn't wait for nothing if I discovered myself, now did I? Another dear friend likes to champion the value in finding new strength, as a woman. I call her, often.

I forget about the moments of change. I forget about the days filled with newness. They brush past - brilliant when they come, swept aside in a wake of discouragement afterwards. But they must be noted, in the hard place. Prayers answered must be written down. Days full of energy must be enjoyed with vigor. Encouragement must be taken in with exuberance. The hard places' triumphs must be noted or they slip past, like the bluebellys I used to catch by the irrigation ditch running through our yard. They were gone before I could grab them again.

I believe in this hard place - the quieting, the refusal to reach out and join the noise again, the runs to the park, the trips to Trader Joe's, the carrot juice, in all its glory. I believe in waiting on change - in myself, in people I love, in my feelings. I believe that all of this hangs in the balance of remaining in it - in continuing to stretch on the fire hydrant, in nights of good sleep, in days of following the "aha!" moments arrived at through my therapist's quiet questions. I believe in being in between.


Kelly@TearingUpHouses said...

Best post you've written. Hands down.


p.s. Give regular massages a shot if you haven't yet.

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...


Wonderful, heart felt post.

Keep on drinking that carrot juice. Good for you!