But getting in shape wasn't going to be easy. It was going to take great work. As a person who had never exercised with fervor or consistency, I found this daunting. For 2 hours every week I had to work my body harder than I had before and, if I'm being honest, harder than I wanted. Many, many times I thought, "I'd rather fall and hurt myself all the time rather than go through this." The 'this' usually involved walking up and down 10 flights of stairs without stopping. "Seriously," I'd say to my therapist. "I'd rather you just shoot me." But he never did. Instead, he'd just laugh, because I was indeed a pathetic patient.
That is how I feel in the midst of this project. Finding reasons to be grateful and humble in the midst of pain and adversity is far from an easy undertaking. Some days my heart suffers from the same over-exertion that my legs did in the stairwell of my physical therapist's office. I find myself figuratively keeled over in pain, unable to do much but cry "please put me out of my misery" and/or "I can't do this."
And so, just like my therapist laughed and made me keep on keeping on, the universe has chuckled and refused to let me stop. I'm bombarded with affirmation, in all forms and always unexpected. This, I think, is one big cosmic joke: when I need relief, I can't find it; when I no longer need relief, there it is. When you get to the stop of the stairwell, your therapist says, "Okay, we're finished." (What? I can take the elevator down if I feel like it? Now, that is twisted!) When I get to the end of crying, hurting and questioning, the universe sends a bit of relief in the form of affirmation. (That is also quite twisted.)
So, though I question the timing of these things and find them inherently unjust, I'm still faced with after-the-fact relief in the form of affirmation: a sermon that I would swear was written just for me; a call that I'd assumed was not going to come; an invite that I'd accepted would never arrive. And the little things: I throw on a CD that I find easy to listen to and heartwarming, and the lyrics of the third track are speaking to me about the deeper things. Support from every direction.
But mostly it was that call that came unexpectedly. That was 85% of the weekend's affirmation. "You're on the right track. Trust. Go slowly..." Even if I wish the call had come 6 weeks sooner and arisen out of appreciation rather than desperation.
So, even though I'd rather stop before I get to the top of the stairwell, I will do just that: stay on track, trust and go slowly.