The Obstruction In Your Path

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It’s Thanksgiving break here, which means we kick off the week with a little excitement in my household.

Don’t school breaks always begin with someone getting sick, injured, or facing a huge life-altering obstacle (friendship ending, incomplete grades, etc)?

Today my son asked me to drop him off with his friends so they could ride bikes. Sure thing.

One hour later I got a series of texts that led up to my son admitting he injured his feet enough to be picked up PRONTO.

If you know boys and bikes, only a serious injury means they stop jumping hills to contact mom.

I pulled up to the park to find him hobbling out barefoot, shoes laced over the handle bars.

Both feet swollen and bloody.

He decided to defy the odds of gravity down a hill - in sandals, no less - only to hit a rock and plummet to his demise.

After bandaging him up, he asked me to drop him at the movies.

And there you have it.

Life hits you hard. You get back up. You move on. Right, kids?

It’s funny to think how easy that was as a kid. I know I did it time and again.

Is this serious enough to phone home? Get help? Stop doing what we are doing?

As adults we are less physical-injury prone (for the most part), and more emotional-injury prone.

And seemingly those emotional injuries take a much greater toll on us than the physical ones do.

Why is it something can emotionally knock us off our block and we are down for the count?

Heck, I've injured my knee, shoulder, hip (countless times) as an adult and shaking it off. Getting back in the game. “I’ll deal with it later.”

But, oh goodness. My heart. My aching heart. When it is hurt. Well, I can’t muster the strength to make it through.

How could I possibly?

Why is it we treat our physical body so differently than our emotional one?

Why do we have such great physical recovery…

… but our emotions are so fragile?

I can take a beat down on the sports field. In the gym. I’m not giving in. I'll play through pain, blood, and swelling until we finish. Then ice it and go back out again tomorrow. 

But hurt my emotions.

Well, there’s no getting over that. I’m scarred. I can’t move on.

I’ve never suffered a sprained ankle and found myself downing a pint of ice cream, rinsing it with a bottle of wine while watching reruns of Sex In The City.

Screw you, Mr. Big. 

But, I’ll be damned if someone responds to me in a way I don’t like. Says hurtful things. Treats me poorly. Ridicules me. Embarrasses me. Excludes me. 

LOCK THE DOORS. CLOSE THE CURTAINS. WE AREN'T LEAVING THE HOUSE AGAIN.

GIVE ME ALL THE GARBAGE!

Why do we value our physical prowess so much more than our mental prowess?

We take pride in getting back up, forging ahead, and moving forward when it comes to our body. But not our emotions.

This is something I’ve been trying to figure out for a long time.

Still trying to figure it out.

I can break my toe on a bike and be over it in an hour. Annoyed. But over it.

All I can think about is when can I get back on that damn bike?

But break my heart?

Well, that’s years of recovery. Maybe a lifetime.

I live in fear of trusting again. Loving again. Feeling safe again. Opening up again. 

It’s a slow, painful process of recovery.

But in the end. Someone else’s word. Their treatment of us. No matter how painful.

It only has the value we attach to it. We are the ones to give it meaning. We are the ones that empower the pain. That invite it in and settle down with it. 

Maybe we should think of this type of hurt as rocks in the road we did not see.

It was an obstruction in our path. It knocked us down. Scraped and bruised us. We bled a little. Or a lot.

But it did not kill us. We got back up and moved on. Realizing though the obstruction in our path was out of our control, we are in control of our response to it.

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