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Indonesia, Central Java:
God Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles
(9th/10th century)

"I have no fallback position …"

I despise lingering. I much prefer events to come and go cleanly without smearing messes all over the countertops. My wounded shoulder (Deltoid Bursitis, the doctor diagnosed) continues lingering, leaving me feeling like a malingerer in the middle of harvest season. I've been resting as the doctor prescribed, resting then testing, for I know of no other way to determine if the ailment's past than to do things beyond the prescribed boundaries of resting. I have accumulated enough rest over the past two months to make up for every sleepless night I've ever experienced, and still, the pain returns with little encouragement. Lifting a gallon of milk recently set it off again. I am becoming surprisingly adept at using my left arm for most things.

I realize that I'm enrolled in some graduate studies in the fine and frequent art of Recovering.
I'm learning that we're all Recovering from something. We're writing on recycled paper with a busted crayon, nothing nearly as pristine as we might have imagined. We're dragging baggage, carry-on unlikely to fit in overhead storage. We are burdened but not prevented from attempting anything. Resting and testing might be the primary modus operandi for everything, for everybody. We have unrealized potential and might manage to rewound ourselves when attempting anything, yet we persist. Me? I resist the doctor's prescription. Like anyone, I despise being told what to do, especially if the prescription's supposed to be good for me. I probably engage in more testing than resting as a result. I'm anxious to be through the healing part and fully recovered. I seem to be still Recovering instead.

It might be that nobody ever really recovers from anything. No past seems very capable of undoing. I might integrate without actually losing this wounded shoulder. I catch myself girding for a future with this unsettling additional feature. I might favor this shoulder forever and never fully recover. Would that be a deal breaker? Would that result serve as such an insult that I would no longer be able to cope? Who knows? Nobody knows. The future doesn't care, and the past, before this latest insult appeared, no longer exists and so seems irrelevant. I am my own blind men and my own elephant, concluding differently from observation to observation. One day I seemed fully recovered, and the next, writhing in pain inflicted by attempting to helf a surprisingly weighty gallon of milk.

Ganesha, the god of new beginnings, watches over me as I rest and test, then rest myself again. It's become a pattern. I carried the expectation that I would quickly work through this little intrusion, but I'm starting to come to a different conclusion. That initial expectation's evaporating, and I'm reconsidering what I can do. I need to retain expansive expectations, just as if my capabilities are expanding. In fact, they might now be shrinking, and I do not intend to surrender quietly without a fight. I will continue testing more than resting, for that's just my nature. I have no fallback position other than to test whether or not I'm actually Recovering.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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