Lightbulb No. 2 – I’m Sad that I’m Glad I Missed It
Last night we had a fireworks display in my town. I like fireworks because they remind me of the time I got to watch fireworks with my family and it was a good memory I’d enjoy recreating one day. But this year I didn’t go. It didn’t bother me terribly (as it had previous years) that I didn’t go, because the special part of fireworks is who you’re with more than what’s happening in the sky (I think like a girl). My work shift had just ended, and as I needed to get butter at the grocery store, I hopped into my car. On second thought, the butter spending spree may have been more related to wanting to see fireworks than it was to buying butter but…that’s neither here nor there.
I pulled my car out of the parking lot, and turned in the direction that would take me the long way to the grocery store, but closer to the fireworks (nah, I really WASN’T going to see the fireworks, I promise). I got a bit closer and found a break in the trees, just enough to barely see the ‘works. I knew I couldn’t get any closer – my leg was throbbing from the vibrations of the explosions, and each explosion hurt. I was several blocks away from where the fireworks were being sent up, nowhere near the park. I marveled at the shimmery colors (especially the PINK) as I winced with each bang.
I was glad, or at least satisfied, that I wasn’t in the park or any closer to the ‘works even though I would have enjoyed seeing them. I was glad I wasn’t near all those people who could bump my legs. I was glad I missed it.
Then it struck me, and I was sad. I missed it. Again. I missed another part of life that I could have enjoyed because I was avoiding pain. Suddenly a long list of things I’ve avoided especially in the last eight months came pouring into my mind, all things I wanted to do but had missed out on because I was pulling back from people, society, experiences, life in general.
I felt sad that I could be glad that I missed these things. It just doesn’t seem healthy or right to be glad to miss out on something good (especially because I was at home, sitting on my tush). It’s twisted. Pain twists our minds. It makes us do weird things all in an effort to avoid its searing touch, though we still know it will not be fully evaded.
I wondered how many times in the last eight months I should have risked Judas’s kiss of pain to do any number of those things on that running list. Should I have pushed through it? Would I have even enjoyed it if I’d tried? Pain has a way of sucking the fun and happy out of things that we anticipate should be fun and happy as well. How many times have I pushed through the pain to experience or do something, only to regret it more than enjoy it? Many.
For this revelation I have no further wonderful or warm fuzzy insights. I suppose it just confirms to me that if there’s anything left that I can do so that I can get ingaged in life again despite the pain, I want to do it. That might mean getting the Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS). I’m 29. I want to get out of my house during times of the day and night when it’s not between 68 and 78 degrees, where there are people, to not be afraid to go out in the rain, to not be afraid of wind, to enjoy the simple things in life that so many take for granted and some of which I too took for granted. I wish I hadn’t taken them for granted.
What’s the point in wishing? My guess is that wishing I’d not taken things for granted leaves me with the ability not to take these things for granted now. I can be grateful for the times that I had these abilities. I can be grateful for the rare moments when I don’t hvae as many repercussions from doing something that normally causes intense pain. I can be grateful for the times when I am able to push through the pain to enjoy something, and even grateful for the times when I can’t enjoy it but I still pushed through it by the grace of God.
Wishing otherwise? I suppose if I didn’t wish for less pain and other good things in life, I’d have more difficulty hoping and coping. I can’t give up. I have to keep going. Wishing means I’m still willing to try, willing to give my effort to attaining the goals I desire to reach. There is the temptation to allow wishing to become coveting and for the desires themselves to become idols so that I shake my fist at God if He doesn’t grant these desires. This and the temptation to self-pity are two things I need to work double hard to avoid, if nothing else.
Thanks for reading/listening. It’s been relieving for me to write this out, and I hope someone else can learn something through it or at least say “Ah, I’m living that right now and I feel better knowing that someone else gets it!” See? You’re not alone.