I am walking on the cusp, the tightrope between well and not-well, between in-charge and victim of circumstance. It’s a balancing act, a mental and spiritual minefield. And here I am, on my tippytoes, trying not to fall, realizing that with every breeze or temperature change my emotional balance falters.
At least, that’s how I’ve felt this weekend. Emily Dickinson said it well (of COURSE she did…she said everything so succinctly and with such a sharp edge):
And often since, in Danger
I count the force ‘twould be
To have a God so strong as that
To hold my life for me
Til I could take the Balance
That tips so frequent now
It takes me all the while to poise—
And then – it doesn’t stay—
“I Prayed, at First, A little Girl”
Wouldn’t it be nice, I asked Lisa today, if I could just take a sleeping pill and nap until January 29th, when I get extricated from this bag of penicillin and the beeping pump? She gave me her practical “Don’t be a silly wimp” look and said, “Lie on your good side three times a day so your ankles don’t swell.”
Of course my question wasn’t as cosmic as Emily’s, but the intent was the same—can’t I just get through this period in my life without the emotional highs and lows that seem to accompany me every waking moment? Debby, my wonderful personal coach, suggests I begin every day with a gratitude list, a habit which was a mainstay during my early alcohol recovery. And as I think about it, much of this blog has been about gratitude—for the people I’ve met, the friends who have supported me, the work I’ve been able to do from my home that has kept my mind alive…the list goes on. I also think about the absence of the pain I was in before surgery, compared to now. The nurses always asked me to rate my pain level (‘on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest’). I always respond with a 1 or 2, because I do remember the awful pre-surgery level 10 pain of bone on bone.
What’s missing here, though, is Emily’s point—the balance doesn’t stay. And that’s what I’ve been feeling—I keep the journal and list my gratitudes, I close my eyes and lose myself in a dream of the azure blue of Eleuthera and the warm air on my skin, I imagine myself climbing the flights of stairs to Sarah’s new condo…all of the tricks I know to maintain the balance I need right now.
But it doesn’t stay. The tightrope is sharp and wobbles under me. I sway and falter through another day…and invoke my litany of gratitudes, and take refuge in the fact that I am one day closer to January 29.