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.
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.