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Small Things Loom Largely in a Life of Chronic Pain

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Today I would like to do just that; think small. Think,George Shrinks,The Lilliputiansalong withGulliverorHoney, I Shrunk The Kids. Some of the diminutive things in life offer us joy while other small things add up to large benefits, one small step at a time. First, let’s look at those that bring us delight in a life that can be very drab at times. Perhaps, what they always told us was true: “The best things come in small packages.” Diamonds immediately come to mind, and they are wonderful, but life does offer many other treasures of equal intrinsic worth if not monetary value. What about the possibilities in buds, seeds and tiny newborn creatures. Small is usually something or someone that will grow. At other times small is always small and to be valued. The important idea here is to notice the small objects, animals, buds and treasures. It’s far too simple to let our pain loom largely in our minds and in our lives, overshadowing the smaller things in life.

This thought occurred to me yesterday while looking out the back door, from the aspect of our small back porch; I was grasping the wonder and the beauty of three hydrangea bushes that have finally crept into bloom. One, a large bush of lace-cap hydrangeas, in violet and white flowers, was burdened down by snow last winter. I felt certain it would never bloom again. Most of its branches were so laden with the weight of snow they touched the ground. Yet, it has never been more beautiful than it is this year as hundreds of tiny bundles of buds unfold. The bush next to it is also a lace-cap but is in a shade of blue and white; further down the flower bed is a white full-headed hydrangea with a hint of pink amidst the white. It was a difficult winter for all of us but we all have bounced back, some blossoming more than others. The gorgeous floral bushes are better than ever. I’m not sure I could say that about me, but at least I have rebounded, one small step at a time.

A flowering hydrangea, a thorny Rugosa rose trailing across the ground as it creates more scarlet floral-hewn bushes; mossy ground cover with tiny lavender flowers that survived and is creeping along beside the house, as a tiny bird with a brown stripe on his head is hopping about in the groundcover buried to his “knees.” These are the wonders that remind us life is truly beautiful and yes, it’s on our side. Leaves die and fall only to be replaced by new leaves. Flowers bloom and with the help of “dead heading” are swapped, thanks to the destiny of the plant, for new blooms. Don’t you love it when life seems to give you an endless supply…of everything?

A cool, fragrant wind always blows across the Columbia River as we attempt to throw stale bread chunks into the water for the benefit of a variety of seagulls, shiny black crows and an occasional knock kneed pigeon. One lonely seagull soon becomes a flock as “word” spreads that some crazy homo sapiens are tossing bread into the river. Amongst the seagulls there is an occasional gull with a withered or damaged leg. Life’s not a bed of roses for seagulls, apparently, either. The children laugh spontaneously when one of the gulls catches a piece of bread in mid-air while gliding on air. There is always one or two of the birds which go off to a corner by themselves as well as a brave one or two who approach very near to us to snatch a scrap or two from the dock on which we stand. For those who have eyes to see, there is much to appreciate, all around us. We must tread carefully lest we focus only on our misery and our pain. There’s so much more.

On the dangerous and sometimes treacherous side of life it’s the small things that often get us into trouble. A wet spot on the floor can lead to a dangerous fall. A slippery rug or wet towel can have unfortunate results. A burner left on after we’ve ingested too many pain pills; lifting a bag that’s too heavy because we don’t remember to carry an extra bag in the trunk just for these circumstances. Careless daily medicine dosing which may require a small plastic medicine container to keep them straight would take only a few minutes of planning. Other measures include remembering to don shoes or socks on a slick floor or to hold onto a handrail when descending stairs; and always remembering to turn on lights by stairways, in darkened rooms, etc. I’ve learned to love the small dim lights I’ve scattered throughout our house which stay on all night for those trips to the backdoor with one of the dogs or a much needed trip to the kitchen for a snack to take with a pill. We often need to remember to accept our limitations when carrying heavy equipment or scooting furniture. All of these can cause us unforeseen trouble and make our already tedious and troublesome lives worse. One pound too much, one tiny instantaneous fall can all lead to trouble. Care is the byword in everyday life, for all of us but especially for those of us who run (or limp) around with pain, limitations and very often, much medication onboard.

It’s a proven statistic that those who work out, even a few minutes a day achieve many health benefits and suffer less falls. Cardiovascular health is enhanced, cholesterol is lowered and muscle tone is maintained by lifting a small weight; remembering to use a stretchy band to strengthen muscles needed for daily life in spite of pain. Little steps still get you there. Slowly still arrives at the destination. Daily life offers opportunities for stretching and strengthening such as scrubbing a pan twenty more times than needed; rubbing lotion on your arms or feet to the count of fifty or using your non-dominant hand once a day to strengthen it. There are so many “little things” like taking the stairs or parking the car a few hundred feet from the door of a store; these all bring strength to diseased or damaged muscle tissue. This may be a pain wracked body and it has indeed betrayed you, as has mine, but it is the only one you and I have and we’re in it together for the long haul. It’s good to make friends with that which we cannot change, like this miserable body. It denotes wisdom and courage. It also gives life a sweet taste instead of the bitterness of adversity and ill health.

There’s no rule that you have to lie down and take it. You can fight back one step, one breath, and one day at a time. It also helps to keep self-pity away. You’re doing something and that is always empowering. It is the little things that comprise the big ones. The small joys and pleasures are as enjoyable as the larger ones. Who says they aren’t? Think small today. Note the bird on a branch, the flower that hadn’t opened yesterday and spend 5 minutes doing that stretch you know will help because tomorrow, you can do it 10 minutes.

Last Updated:7/14/2009
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Date: 11.12.2018, 04:00 / Views: 31152