Yep. That’s me on this sunny, hot summer evening in cottage country. Alone and in pain.
Well, okay, not totally alone. My dog is here and there are lots of people surrounding me. But in my own little sanctum I am solo. No other human is present, sharing my agony.
Well, okay, it’s not really agony (do you think I maybe have a tendency to exaggerate?). I’m just in pain because I took a rather nasty tumble off my (new pink) bicycle a few nights ago and it would appear I have bruised or cracked a few ribs. I also have cuts and scrapes and a weird pulled muscle in my thigh but mostly the pain is stemming from my ribs. Breathing is problematic, especially when walking. Lying down can also be a challenge (as is getting up) and the biggest pain comes when I try to roll over. I am a confirmed tosser and turner so sleep isn’t easy.
Oh well. This is why they invented Tylenol. And wine.
But here’s the thing – even though I am alone and in pain I am okay. Content. Feeling blessed. It is summertime in my happy place, I have strong WiFi and a portable job. A terrific little chalet. And a great guy and great friends joining me here this weekend. So even though there is physical pain and I am alone enduring it, I’m good.
But I do remember the days of “together and in pain”. In a relationship, my beloved beside me, and the pain screaming so loud I thought I might scream along. Just to drown it out. Those were not good days. And yet on the outside they looked like fantastic days. “I’ve got it all” days. No need to worry about me days because everything was hunky-dory.
Except it was not. I was as isolated as a widowed goose, game-face on, fake smile shining, tormented heart breaking.
I remember the days of being “in a crowd and in pain”. A dear friend once threw me a birthday party filled with bon vivants, live music, food and booze and I was so despondent, yet trying SO hard to have a good time and then realizing that failure was an absolute guarantee that I eventually bailed and took a very expensive cab ride home, weeping profusely the entire drive. All those people there FOR ME and it was not enough. It was not what I needed. Because I was as isolated as a widowed goose.
Yes, I have been in a crowd and in pain. And the crowd only amplifies the feeling of isolation that invariably accompanies the pain.
I have also been on stage and in pain. With a band, in front of a room full of revelers, expecting me (and the boys) to keep them entertained all night long. And yet every note, every lyric and every breath brought me closer to absolute emotional annihilation. And yet I was able to affix the ever-present mask firmly in place, soldier on and … not look like I was in pain. Nope. I most certainly looked like I was having a rip-snorting, fun old time.
So here I sit on this summer eve, hot (not the good kind), a little sweaty, a lot sore, alone and in pain.
Oh, my friends … what a difference! What a blessed difference!
I’m a woman. Did you know that a woman’s pain tolerance is nine times that of a man? I don’t know if that’s true but it was in a movie I watched last night. All I know is I have survived childbirth, a ruptured appendix, a severely broken ankle, horrible teenage acne and (for the 2nd time) bruised (or cracked) ribs.
I will take alone and in this pain any day over those other days. Those bad old days when my soul’s pain screamed louder than any broken bone ever could.
I am in pain. But not crying.
I am alone. But not lonely.
I am grateful.