Sunday, August 29, 2004

To Breathe is NOT to Live

I am about to haul my bad back to my daughter’s place to help her move. Because I have bulging discs and other spinal deterioration, my doctor would almost certainly not endorse this plan — if he knew about it. But neither you nor I will tell.

About ten years ago, I had a major back attack and spent the best part of two months on the floor. There, prone on the rug, I found my only relief from the tortuous leg pain that would engulf me if I tried to either sit or stand for more than a few minutes. I watched TV from the floor, ate on (not off!) the floor, slept there, and even did some work from my recumbent position in the middle of the family room rug. Frankly, I fretted to some degree, for if I could be so incapacitated in my forties, what would I be like in another decade — or two or three decades?

Of course, the worst didn’t happen. My back’s still pretty pathetic, but I treat it as well as I can and do my best to get on with life. I will help my daughter to move, but I will be careful. I will try not to carry too much weight at any one time, and I will try to maintain good posture and to practise good lifting techniques. Something bad could happen, but I’m not worried because I think I know my limits.

Besides! I refuse to spend my life in perpetual worry and fear. What is the point of locking myself in a closet in order to evade the could be’s of life? What kind of life would that be? “Well, God, I lived to be ninety. Yes sir, Mr. Maker, I hunkered down in my living room for the last forty years because … well … because I wanted to live to be ninety.”

What might He say to that? Might our Maker say: “That ain’t living, son, that’s just breathing”?

I want to live, not just breathe. I don’t have to jump out of airplanes or climb rock cliffs, but closeting myself away in fear represents no viable solution. I mean to push the envelope as far as I can sensibly push it. Yes, I used the word, sensibly, not heedlessly, not recklessly. I intend to exercise reasonable prudence, but I refuse to cower in the corner of timidity.

I — we all — need to strike a balance. The balancing point is different for everyone. It would be imprudent of me to go rock climbing or bungee jumping, but it would be timid of me to remain in the security of my rocking chair: to not venture into the garden; to not swim in the creek; or, to not walk the woodsy pathway for fear of stumbling. I would be breathing, but I wouldn't really be living. Not really.




PS: There is some travelling coming up and the blog may pay the price. Don’t give up on me, for I shall return.

1 comment:

Butterfly said...

Awesome blog Daddy-o.