Today’s the 10th day of this pain–still waiting for a neurosurgeon’s consult following a CT scan done four days ago. The narcotic pain reliever Hydromorphone barely makes a dent. Sometimes it takes me five minutes to cover 12 steps upstairs as I moan, scream, swear, weep, and laugh out loud from time to time.
I mention this to contextualize an amazing discovery: that calmness may reside at the core of excruciating discomfort. By acknowledging my helplessness I’m able to experience equanimity [from Latin aequanimitas, with even mind].
This afternoon, a coworker brought a bowl of split-pea soup and a caffè latte super grande. When she offered to wash dishes and tidy the kitchen, my automatic response was to decline. A while later I changed my mind and accepted. A simple letting-go of resistance gave her an opportunity to be of service and me to embrace loving kindness.
The theologian Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) writes:
As your body, heart and mind come to know that you are loved, your weakest part will feel attracted to that love. What has remained separated and unreachable will let itself be drawn into the love you’ve been able to receive.
Several hours later, as I hobble to the kitchen for tea, I delight in seeing stove top and counters reflecting my friend’s generosity.
source: Nouwen, H.J.M. (1996). The inner voice of love. London, UK: Darton, Longman, and Todd, p.46. image: iamrainbowzend.com.