Step Twenty Eight

Step Twenty Seven
July 31, 2015
Step Twenty Nine
August 2, 2015


Dwelling on the pain and the weakness and the shaking was getting me nowhere. Cutting myself off from everything – friends and family too – was getting me nowhere. There was no more epiphany. No greater understanding. No fleeting glimpse of the One Righteous Path. No raison d’etre.

No relief.

Did I just spend eleven months of my life seeking answers, or was I just throwing a gigantic mope?

I don’t have that answer, either. (If you’re looking for cosmic introspective insight, I am clearly not your guy.)

Here’s what I know I know.

In early July 2014, I was hospitalized for a week while teams of medical professionals kept me from exploding. After dozens of tests demonstrated that (1) I was OK and (2) nothing was permanently damaged by the experience, I was allowed to go home. I spent the rest of the month more or less under house arrest.

But the ordeal was far from over. For weeks, I couldn’t muster the strength to stand for very long. Taking a shower required liberal use of a built-in bench. My hands shook so violently that writing, typing, changing channels with a remote control, were beyond me. Eating with a fork was downright dangerous.

I couldn’t drive. Heck, I could barely dress myself.

So yeah. I moped for a while. Who wouldn’t?

But life went on. The weakness faded. I was allowed back in the office (after proving I could dress myself). The weakness returned. Often. I hid it when I could. Lied about it when I had to. When no other option presented itself, there was always the big comfy chair in the office bullpen.

Here’s what I think I know.

What I learned in Step Eleven is the Gospel Truth. Wanting to matter is not the same thing as actually mattering. Actions only matter when they matter to somebody else.

I was not put on this earth to wallow in self-indulgence, even if it was, you know, the kind where I try to be a better person, at least on paper. It is clear to me, after several months of trial and (a lot of ) error, that thinking about the difference I am going to make in this world isn’t actually making a difference.

Here’s what I think.

I started feeling better back in April, right around the time of my wife’s surgery. By the time she was back on her feet, I was singing with Carol, and volunteering at Lebanon Community Theatre, and taking on a few pro bono cases at work. And now I’m doing “Hello Dolly!” And I’m feeling better.

It’s not that the pain and weakness are gone. There are days, believe me.

I think that when I’m invested in other people, when I’m involved in other things, I just don’t have time to notice my own issues.

Jeff Peyton
Jeff Peyton
Don’t be fooled by Jeff Peyton's accomplishments in communications, crisis and business management. He also wing-walked on an airplane at 700 feet, co-piloted the Goodyear Blimp and swam with sharks - and still managed to obtain paperwork officially declaring him “legally sane.” Really.

1 Comment

  1. Mom says:

    Proud of your determination not to let this “thing” get you down in any shape or form. Proud you can look “it” in the eye and kick butt and do what YOU need to do. Keep up your spirit and have fun singing and dancing. (somebody better take a video) Wish we could be there to see this. I know you will have fun. Just take care and enjoy. Love U Lots. xoxoxox Mom

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