24 November 2005

The Emergent Character of my (Left) Knee

What is it about being in a competitive sports situation that causes one to do things that they would never think of doing in other situations? Why would a person run full speed and not turn away from another person running full speed, just to catch a frisbee?

Honestly, these are not the main thoughts going through my head as I sit with a massive swelled up multicolored bump on the side of my knee. I'm instead meditating on the cosmic significance of injuring my left leg (as opposed to my right) and what that means about my ability to follow through on my decisions and relate to others. That last comment is for the other amateur kabbalists in the audience.

I'm sitting in the emergency room of Haddasah hospital. This thing (technically a hematoma) is big and ugly enough that my GP thinks it's time to get it reeeemoooved. I've been sitting here for hours.

How do you find meaning in these events? These things that feel like nothing but a setback, a bother, a distraction, wasted time?

There's the amateur kabbalist approach. As I'm stewing in the cosmic left leg, a nurse runs over my left foot with a wheelchair to help reinforce my musings.

There's another approach, though, that is making big waves in my head and in my heart.

I hurt my leg and have to walk on crutches. I notice people with canes now. I notice ambulances. I hear the pain in people's voices more. I have to hang out in the emergency room and it's drab and sad and draining. I notice the other people there, some of them seem to be long term residents. Now I have a little more space for sympathy. Now I have an inkling of what it would be like to bounce from doctor to doctor to hospital to doctor and no one knows what to say. I find myself in a deep way alone, and I can hear the voice of a friend, make space for him. When he tells me, "Everything's All Right", I can hear him crying out, "I'm Alone!"

I can't say that it's the ultimate cosmic solution to the problem of suffering. But who knows? It might not be so strange to think that we suffer to help us hollow out a space in our ego for another. It helps me turn what can be a destructive energy into something worthwhile.

I really don't know what I'm talking about, but it could be that this making space is a left leg activity.

In the end the doctor argues that it's not a good idea to cut me open. Nothing's broken, everything seems to be roughly in working order, we'll just let the body do it's thing. Works fine for me...

5 comments:

A Simple Jew said...

'laizer: Glad to hear that you are ok. Have a good Shabbos!

MC Aryeh said...

I hope you are crutchless on two feet in no time at all. The amateur kabbalist (as opposed to someone like HC, who is the genuine article of the telepathic variety)in me thinks it is not a left leg thing, but a heart thing (perhaps left ventricle?). Many in your situation would just bemoan their fate without sympathy for others even crossing their mind. Once a heart is opened, however, it feels everything differently, with greater empathy and emotion. The conspiracy theorist in me, however, thinks it was Colonel Mustard with the wrench in the study...

'laizer said...

Thanks for the well wishes...

oishkapipik said...

It all related to how you looked at the situation. You choose to grow from the experience and appreciate all that you had!! You now have more sympathy for those in pain. Therefore you get to keep the leg and walk out with the best medicine of all "have a cookie and call me in the morining." Maybe if you would have walked in there with the "poor me" attitude and "why do I have to wait so long???" "so what these other people are in pain, what about meee"" than Chotz for Shalom the results could have been much worse. Of course I am taking the "I know G-d and how he works" approach. In short my point is, while playing frisbee football if at all possible it would be best to avoid smashing into other players that are moving at a high speed towards you.

L. Mervis said...

Gosh, 'laizer, this is gorgeous. I'm sorry for your pain. I have had similar thoughts. When the pain is so bad you can't stand it and you think you might even die from it, suddenly people's pain is so much more real and immediate. . . and with awe one considers that for many this suffering, physical or emotional, is chronic. Hashem Yishmor.

I especially appreciate the voice you properly hear of your friend, who says "I'm aright."