Monday, September 14, 2009

This Mortal Coil

I haven't completely thrown out my back, but there is neither baby nor bathwater close at hand, so the back might be the only option. I went to my first-ever spin class today, giving in to masochistic tendencies that have crept into my psyche of late, and I'm thinking there might be a direct correlation between the tightness and squeezing sensation flaring forth from just below my shoulder blades and the amount of time I spent hunched over like a nearly-blind scribe trying to see his work as I pedaled madly (and then less and less madly as my legs decided to simply stop motor function).

But maybe not. Maybe I willed this small ailment into existence by the fact of noting on the phone with a friend today that I never had to worry about throwing out my back when I was 20. Of course, that was just after I cackled to him that he's old in response to hearing of a few of his body woes. The universe is paying me back for the glee with which I poked my friend; might still be worth it.

I think that a hot shower and a heating pad are working their wonders and I'm likely to awaken in the morning hearty and hale once more. But what of the people I love who won't wake up tomorrow in healthy bodies? What of those whose lives are laid on a foundation of physical pain? How do their spirits soar when the bolts of pain twist round and hold them like ivy on a stone wall?

This past weekend I attended an Interplay workshop where we played with sound and movement and meaning. At the end we were asked to choose a partner and tell them of someone we carried on our hearts that day; the partner was then asked to dance for that person sharing our heart. I thought immediately of my beautiful Monique, whose spirit and joy and beauty I have loved for many years now even as pain and struggle have left their marks across her life. I told my stranger-partner, Sela, of Monique and then watched with a rush of peace and gratitude as she danced a struggle of pain and then an opening into the light and an inrush of joy. That is what I wish for my dear friend, light and joy.

I cannot send it to her, though, I haven't that gift to give. I can merely witness to her pain, her striving, the path of her life and the beauty of her spirit. I can send her love in waves and clouds of prayers, but still she is likely to face another day of pain.

Tomorow morning as I move from my bed, most likely back in shape and ready for action, I will stop for a moment and send yet another cloud of prayers to my friend. And tell the world of her beauty.

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