Not writing publicly, I have been writing privately. I spill words on pages. They blink back at me filled with sorrow, rage and jealousy. I have a hard time seeing these words as mine. It is wise to keep them private. Finally, they start to sputter and lose their sting. I turn to embrace them.
This morning, I walk. An old back injury causes me to walk on the outside of my feet. In time, the muscles along the inside of my foot atrophy. They begin to telegraph pain along the nerves like little flashes of lightening. They trick me by going numb when ever they please. When the kids were small, I was told that surgery could help but that I’d be off my feet for 6 to 8 weeks. That was not an option. Instead, I developed my own treatment. I force myself to walk with all my foot touching the ground.
At first, I have to concentrate. I can think only of walking and forcing my entire foot to carry my weight as it touches the ground. The soles of my feet burn. My feet, my walk, my soul remind me that some times pain is necessary. Some times we just have to push through it. Pain, sorrow, anger and jealousy are not bad in themselves. They have valuable lessons to teach.
Lessons come from unlikely places.
On Tuesday, a book in the library catches my eye: Assertiveness for Earth Angels. The central premise seems odd to me. The author maintains that once upon a time many people were angels in heaven. At some point, these earth angels are sent to earth by God to help other people. A picture of Joan of Arc surrounded by two cherubs graces the cover. Was I once an angel? I really, really doubt that. I can think of no theological precedent.
And yet, inside this book, she reminds me that I am a being of Light. My body telegraphs the truth of these words. A warm feeling begins in the pit of my stomach and energy surges from the top of my head and the ends of my fingers and toes. With a physical reaction this strong, I know that the words have hit home and something about being a creature of Light connects with my own reality in a profound way.
This Creature of Light begins her walk feeling like a broken marionette. The nerves in my legs crackle and sting. Moving feels awkward. I hope that the passing traffic doesn’t notice how out of sync my body seems with this beautiful day. I feel more like a creature of the shadows.
And then, a woman at the intersection pulls forward to make a left turn while I have the walk signal. Suddenly, realizing I have the right of way, she backs up a bit to make way for me. I smile at her brightly and mouth a thanks. Her face awakens in the most wonderful smile. Walking in the light can be such a satisfying thing.
As I walk, pushing those lazy muscles down toward the earth, I become more grounded. The creature of the shadows needs a rest. It’s done its job. I stop, close my eyes and turn my face toward the sun. Light feels right.