TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Love for the Suffer is Gone

What is the matter with me? I just do not like to suffer anymore. I despise it. It used to be that there was some kind of perverse joy in suffering – trekking through the wilderness in 100+ degree weather, covered in gnats, dirty, exhausted, low on fluids – that kind of stuff, it was strangely fun. Re-telling the story of that time I almost died – those were the days! The defeats, the agonizing, those were things that put my life into perspective. They were my “chill pills.” It seems like now that love for the suffer, it’s gone. Suffering makes me angry, makes me feel inadequate. I hate it.

The day after my treadmill quest, I went out for a short, flat run in the evening. And it hurt. I was miserable. I am so out of shape that there was no “easy” in any of those 3 miles. I hated it all. And quite frankly, it made me angry. And so I have to ask, what happened to me? Why can’t I take even the slightest bit of suffering anymore? Is it because of my age? Is the the extra weight? Is it because I’m just too dang tired? Maybe it’s because I’ve lost my patience. I’m immature. My focus is gone.

I arrived home after that run, really just spitting mad -- mad as in angry, and mad as in a little bit insane too. It was my husband who said to me, “This is right up your alley. Take on the challenge.” But it sucks, was all I could manage to seethe in my anger.  

My husband really got me thinking (even though he just pissed me off at first). This getting back into shape really should be up my alley. I’ve always been for a challenge. Countless people have been in good shape, and then had to start it all over again. Why should I boo-hoo all the time about it. And then I remembered one of my students and the lesson demonstrated to me just recently.

I was teaching a semi-complex, multi-step algebra problem. And he just couldn’t get it. I saw the frustration in his body language. He left for frequent cigarette breaks. He threw his hands over his face. He slumped his shoulders in surrender. “I just don’t get it,” he said. I told him, that it was all right if he didn’t get it right now. I told him that he should keep working on it, even if he didn’t “get it.” I told him if he kept working on it, kept thinking about it, that he would eventually get it. He needed to have patience. It would come in time.

Some time went by in class, and the students were working independently now. And then suddenly this student exclaimed, “I get it! I totally get it!” How lucky can a teacher be that a frustrated student “gets it,” within the same class period? I was that lucky.  And this is what he said to me: “I just had to stop being angry and work the steps. Once I did that, I got the answer.”

OMG, I just wanted to hug the guy (but I didn’t because that would just be weird). I mean, how brilliant were his words? Super brilliant! If he could remember that lesson and fall back on it for the rest of his life, he would be set. He was with that math problem where I am with my running. I just need to stop being angry and work the steps! So, let’s see if I have the patience to do that.

2 comments:

  1. Lauren, I read your blog frequently. There are several things that I want you to keep in mind. 1) You can move with freedom and frequency..at your own will. Do so. Praise God for this gift and enjoy. Run. walk, hike and breathe. 2) Learn to live within your body. If you accept this, you will find the peace that you desire. 3) Your photography is stunning. Enjoy where you live. Embrace the presence of the moment. Don't expect the perfection of always. AND, don't be afraid to mix it up. It's OK. I hope that these words help provide you with some peace of mind. Aging can't be stopped, Age with grace (what ever you see that being.).

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    1. I appreciate your kind words Susan. Thank you.

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