Most mornings, my hands work just fine. I raise my arms before my feet hit the floor. I stretch the jangled nerves and the tight muscles. I shake my fingers. When my brain engages, I struggle vertical and start my day.
Some days, like this day, my hands hang limp. They cannot grasp or grip. They will not function. Anything I try to hold falls away. This phenomenon began years and years ago; and persists to this day. The toothbrush, the cell phone, the coffee mug — on days such as today, all of these challenge me. Defy me. Elude me.
Years ago, a doctor told me to make sure I sleep with my arms extended to avoid both neurological glitches like the limp-hand syndrome and to ward off blood clots. I’ve tried, believe me. But the human body naturally resolves itself in the protective fetal curl.
This morning, I stared at my hands in dismay. I’m used to their inconsistent reliability but for some reason, every once in a while, it overwhelms me. Today I push back the resentment, the complaint, the bitterness. These hands serve me well enough most days. I remind myself that an hour or so after waking, they will settle into their usual capacity — not great, but functional. I force myself to shake off the irritation and lean my shoulder against the wall as I descend the stairs. Then I get online to find some inspiration. I realize life is not a competition. I do not live in the world of grass-is-always-greener-somewhere-else and that I can only value what I have by finding somebody else’s brown and dying lawn.
But once in a while, it helps to see that some folks rise above their infirmities with grace and valor. I scroll through the images which I find, and realize that I can keep going. I can persevere.
It’s the twenty-eighth day of the thirty-first month of My [Never-Ending] Year Without Complaining. Life continues.