“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
According to the standards of Sir Winston Churchill (my dad’s hero), I am a resounding success.
Readers of my blog have probably grown used to reading my whining about the hip injury I have been dealing with off and on (mostly on) for the past year and a half. After trying several approaches to the injury, including running through the pain, visiting my family doctor and a physical therapist, performing various stretches and exercises designed to resolve the problem, resting, pool running, using the elliptical trainer, and, um, running through the pain again, I finally visited an orthopedist last week.
Each of the previous approaches was an utter failure, but that did not dampen my enthusiasm for this doctor visit. Success!
Armed with Xrays and a hopeful attitude, I sat on a paper-covered examination table and waited for Dr. Little to enter the room. On a friend’s recommendation, I had driven 90 minutes to visit this orthopedist.
Dr. Little was indeed the miracle worker my friend described. Gregarious and knowledgeable, with a no-nonsense attitude, he finally gave me a diagnosis that made sense, showed me where the pain originated, and described a detailed plan for recovery.
As it turns out, the piriformis issues diagnosed by the physical therapist, while painful, were not what prevented me from running. Inflammation of the hamstring fascia, tendon, and muscle caused my running shut down.
As Dr. Little was describing the stretches I should do, I asked him if I should be doing the hip-opening exercises previously prescribed. “No!” he quickly responded. I should be doing the opposite of hip opening exercises, it turns out. In a hip opener like pigeon pose in yoga, your thigh is stretched outward, away from your body. The stretch I should be doing, with the aid of a strap (or in my case, the belt from my son’s old karate uniform) stretches your leg across the body, inward. And yes, that’s as far as I can stretch right now.
The physical therapist, upon learning about my love for Body Pump, forbade me from doing lunges and instructed me to do squats using only body weight (no barbells) during the weight training class. The orthopedist told me to do both squats and lunges using weights. His explanation: “That’s how you strengthen your landing. You need to train your legs to stay straight and steady,” made sense to me.
I wasted no time the next day trying out the stretches he suggested and attending a Body Pump class, where I added weights to my squats and lunges for the first time in months.
It will surprise no one who knows me that I could hardly walk the next day. Strike that – I could walk just fine. Bending down to tie my shoes and lowering myself to sit down without using my arms was impossible.
I tend to go a tiny bit overboard; I am nothing if not enthusiastic.
Toward the end of the visit, Dr. Little began what I thought was a strange line of questioning. “Are you married?” he asked. “Yes,” I responded. “Do you trust your husband?” he continued. “Yessss, ” I replied warily. “Then you should ask your husband to kneel on your hamstring each day. It will be as effective as a massage to release muscle knots”
“Whew!” I thought. I was worried about where those questions were heading.
His question kept rolling around in my brain long after the doctor’s visit was over. I do trust my hubby, with a passionate surety that has been built over the course of a long marriage.
While we were driving to Florida for a recent trip to visit my sister and brother-in-law, we spent a lot of time in the car together. A quip made by a DJ on the radio about feeling loved made me ask Bill “What makes you feel loved?”
Bill, fearing he was trapped in a tight, enclosed space with a crazy woman, replied: “Um, I feel loved when you tell me you love me.” “Seriously,” I persisted. He considered it for a while, then told me that it makes him feel loved when I write nice things about him in my blog. I liked that.
Then I thought about what makes me feel loved. When others are interested in what I am doing and what I have to say, I feel loved. To evince our love we must let go of the inclination toward self-involvement and become invested in the lives of others. Giving our full attention to someone is a way of showing our love. Listening is loving.
None of our family or friends should ever have to laugh or cry alone. We need to celebrate triumphs and commiserate disasters together.
Giving our time is a way of showing love. The title of the schmaltzy old Harry Chapin song “Cats in the Cradle” has been turned into a verb, as in “He’s Cats-in-the-Cradling you,” for a good reason. The absent father described in the song eventually reaps what he sowed – an absent, offhand kind of love from the son he neglected.
Being patient and kind is a way of demonstrating our love. We all make mistakes, we are all in need of grace. Showing patience and forgiveness lets loved ones know they are valued. Treating individuals as the priceless wonders they are is love in action.
Exhibiting humility is a way of showing love. If I boast about my accomplishments or possessions, I imply I am better than others. That is not manifesting my love, it drives people away. Being humble is a way to show respect for others. It encourages goodwill, boosts forgiveness, and demonstrates our love.
Expressing love isn’t always easy. It takes courage. We have all been hurt. Everyone has been disappointed by a loved one. I still believe that demonstrating our love is worth any risk, worth facing any danger.
To display love openly, with bravery, vulnerability, and boundless enthusiasm is the best gift you can give those who are nearest and dearest to you at any time, but especially at this time of year when our thoughts turn to love.
Showing love can be as complicated as a Shakespearean play or it can be as simple as trusting someone to kneel on your leg. Make sure you do it today.
“Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” – 1 John 3:18
I am linking up with Shank You Very Much for Dream Team and Global Blogging, Mary-andering Creatively for LMM, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, Hooks and Dragons for Mix It Up, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Purposeful Faith for RaRa link up, Char at Trekking Thru, Kooky Runner for Tuesday Topics, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, Meghan Weyerbacher for Tea and Word, Bethere2day for Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday, Deb’s Random Writings for Keeping It Real, Coach Debbie Runs for Coaches’ Corner, Reflections From Me for A Blogging Good Time, and My Random Musings for Anything Goes.