My husband recently encouraged me to share how my life has changed since my 9 week intensive experience at the H.E.L.P Pain Clinic in San Mateo. This caused me to ponder ……. Even as I am writing this post …. I am pondering. So much has changed …. And yet, so much is the same.
Sooooo ……. The easy part that requires no pondering …… What is the same ……. I am still married to the same wonderful man. Still enjoy watching my daughter conquer the world Christ is giving her for His glory. Still speak my mind without reservation. Still do not exercise as much as I should and still do weigh more than I want. Still meandering my way in the art world. Still voraciously trying to consume and understand God’s Word ….. and, yes, still in pain.
As I look back, the changes were subtle … but, grew upon each other. They began at the H.E.L.P Clinic where I gained knowledge about my body and confidence in my body. Before even “graduating” from the clinic last September … I attended a night time concert (which involved sitting and “night time” …. this Cinderella turns into a pumpkin at dusk). I had already gained enough confidence to “try it anyway”. It was exhilarating. That exhilaration gave me the incentive to try more things “anyway”.
On the 4th of July, I was invited to a family celebration on the Delta in Discovery Bay. I was encouraged to join the family in various “floatable” vessels on the water. I had great hesitation to work my way down to the water and into a vessel …. knowing it was likely I could appear to be the first beached whale floating the Delta … but, …… I did it anyway. I played in the water, with much laughter and no grace, managed to get into the boat for family “tubing time”. I have always LOVED the feeling of wind on my face and knew I was going to experience “exhilaration” again. I was not disappointed. I watched several family members tube and vicariously had a blast watching them. I enjoyed my vicarious experience so much I asked Captain Greg if I could ride in the tube behind the boat in the “15 mile an hour” zone. He stopped the boat a bit early and I managed, somehow, to get from the boat to the tube that I shared with my niece. Exhilaration did not even begin to describe the experience. Because I had been doing the exercises the clinic had designed for me … my arms, stomach and every other muscle in my body was able to keep me on that tube … that eventually got up to 35 mph …. and I hear that is a pretty good clip! For the record, I did experience “reverb” the following days. Some came from muscles I had not used in a while and some came from the ever present back/leg pain. I can only say …. I “walked” through it with a huge smile on my face.
This August I attended my 40th class reunion. There were a million reasons why I initially did not even consider going …. First, I had never considered it before. Second, social situations are HIGHLY awkward for me for a variety of reasons. But, again … with encouragement from several of my classmates (Dan, Nancy, Sherri!!!!) …. I did it anyway. I had made myself a dress out of a pattern that I love, with material that I love, from a fabric store that I love (sooooo the fabric was ghastly expensive ….. I bought it anyway!) and had fun dressing up for the occasion. I did have awkward moments … standing at times, during our meal when everyone else was sitting … the whole “what to say” thing …. But, I got over it and enjoyed my meal and was HORRIFIED to find out my classmates thought of me as “social” in high school. I was so glad I went.
The confidence I have been building in my body, is now merging into other areas of my life. I have always been very, again the word, “awkward” about sharing my art with anyone. It has always been more about the “prayer” that comes during its creation. However, a friend/artist has encouraged me to submit a piece of art to a Yosemite art exhibit. I have been collecting fabrics for years to do a large scale piece of Yosemite falls. Now seemed like the right time, but, initially I was hesitant …. unwilling to challenge myself. Eventually, through continued encouragement …. I decided to do it anyway. My goal is to have my art displayed in Yosemite at this event in December. It doesn’t matter what my art looks like in comparison to the professional artists who will also be displaying …. It matters that I do it anyway!
As I ponder … and write …. I realize the biggest change in my life “one year later” is that I am trying things anyway. Some of the “things” are things I could have done one year ago, but didn’t have the confidence or courage. Some are things I could not have done one year ago, but now my body is stronger as I exercise with wisdom and experience with zeal. The words I hear myself repeating in my “ponders” are encouragement, confidence, courage, wisdom, exhilaration.
One year later ….. I am doing/trying it anyway.