So I hurt my back last week. How I wish I had a heroic story to tell of a brave and wonderful way I got this injury. But no.
I was brushing my teeth. Yes, brushing my teeth, and when I bent to spit out the bubbles created by our particular brand of toothpaste, something in my back twisted and jerked, rendering me helpless in the “bent over to spit” pose.
After 24 hours, I still couldn’t straighten. I was sort of functioning in an “S” shape. S for SUPERWOMAN, right? I NEEDED to be superwoman to stand that kind of pain. I’m talking pain of childbirthing proportions, only childbirth had an END in sight!! So I ended up at the chiropractor’s office in a desperate attempt to reduce the pain.
My chiropractor has this wonderful thing… it’s a bed/table type thing that you lie down on and it uses jets of hot water to massage your back. It’s lovely. But it gets better! This amazing miracle table is located in a small room with minty aqua walls. So the doctor gets me all set up on the table and then leaves the room, closing the door behind him. I was lying there ALL ALONE. Stuck for the duration of the treatment, there was no way to hurry or try to cut a corner to get it done faster. There was no one standing outside the door yelling “MAMA!!” There was nothing to do but lie there and think. So I thought.
I thought how nice it was to be alone in the quiet for a few moments. I thought how insane to be enjoying a back injury because it gave me a few quiet moments alone. I thought if not for that pain, I’d be running around in my usual craziness, spinning plates like I always do. I thought of the guilt I felt for spending money on this doctor visit, but I had no choice since I couldn’t even pick up the baby or do most any of my usual daily tasks. I thought how thick-headed I must be to have not learned by now that those who are counting on me would be much better off with a calmer, healthier me. I thought how all my hustling and bustling really isn’t blessing me or my family.
So this weekend, we played in the rain. We went to bed early. We had friends over for a simple but yummy dinner WITH dessert. I let the kids stay up late. I took a nap when the baby napped. I wrote my husband a love letter and took him on a date. With Sunday services canceled due to tropical storm weather, and Labor Day falling on this weekend also, I had a day off from both my jobs. I went for coffee with a friend and talked over some ideas I’ve been having. We spent time with family and the house was filled with laughing crazy cousins playing together.
I slowed it down and guess what? TWO stressful situations at work resolved themselves, housework still got done, kids still got bathed, fed and dressed, and life still went on, only I truly LIVED it. Imagine that!
Sometimes when life gets me stressed and harried, when I’m moving too fast to really even live, that’s when the IMpractical becomes the most practical thing of all. I had NO TIME to be lying on a chiropractor’s table, but there I was anyway, and it was right where I needed to be.
So I brushed my teeth, bent over to spit, and stood back up (several days later) a little smarter. I’ll still see ya on the highway, but more often, I hope, in the slow lane.