I can’t lie: Sometimes, I get the blues. On such days, I grouse around my tiny house embroiled in an inner battle. I beat back overt complaint. But my stomach aches; my knees creak and shudder; and the shooting stabs of misdirected ATP release call to mind Yossarian‘s dubious condition. I’m not sick enough to be in the hospital but not well enough to dance on the levee.
Someone who shall go unnamed used to scold me for being grateful not to have worse conditions like MS or cancer. He’d say, That makes no sense; why should you be glad not to suffer more than you do? You should just want to be pain-free. I never understood his view on this issue. At any given moment I can think of scores of diseases more painful or crippling than mine. Knowing that I’ve been spared much worse makes what I have infinitely easier to tolerate.
When my mother asked me how i felt, I would typically reply, “On a scale of Nirvana to Bosnia, I’m somewhere in between.” But I do crave decent health sometimes. Like the blind man who covets sight, I yearn to skip, run, and maybe — just maybe — to pull socks on my feet without tears.
Then I open the photo app on my computer and scroll through the pictures which I’ve uploaded. I gaze at the mama owl in her nest and the snow geese in the fields behind our park. I pull a book of poetry from my shelf and browse the tender tales of Timothy Pettet or remember the haunting voice of David Arnold Hughes. I close my eyes, set my chair to rocking, and wrap myself in evening’s cloak. After a while, the demon relaxes its grip on my soul. I ease myself out of the blues and into the arms of the whispering wind which rises in the meadow.
It’s the fifteenth day of the seventy-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.