Mary's Website

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What I Take for Granted

The snow mounds were perfect.
Not a shoe print in sight.

With white snow glistening everywhere—from the trees on the hill behind my house to the creek far below—an excitement to accomplish an outdoor task pulsed through me.

I took shovel in hand and began breaking a trail from the house to the car. The snow was light and easy to plow. It was like a child driving a matchbox car through sand. There I was, driving my shovel. Push. Lift. Throw. The path turned into an open area where I would need to park my car later. So I tackled it. The snow was light and the job wasn't difficult. I plowed across the expanse of fluffy white snow, heaving, throwing, twisting to the music of swish, scrape, whoosh. After 45 minutes or so had passed, I took a break. Happy to be working in the crisp winter day, leaning on my shovel, I stared all around me at the gorgeous white-washed beauty. Perfection like a Christmas card all glittered and new.

The break should have made everything right. I was rested, renewed. I was all set to continue plowing with my shovel.

The next section to work on was directly around my husband's parked car. Here the snow was dense. Not thinking much about it, as before, I bent over and scooped. Pow. Pain arched across my lower back. I shoveled into the mound again. Yikes. That really did hurt! I paused, then turned around and glimpsed the driveway and all the snow left to be shoveled, and I decided right then and there that I was going to finish the task I'd started. Sheer stupidity or gritty determination? Either way, onward I went.

Now I couldn't scoop the snow like I had been doing. I couldn't bend in the same way. Stubborn girl that I am, I found I could stand very straight and plow the snow, running the shovel into the bank. Then I could lower myself a little and do a funny little toss and the snow would sort of glide off my shovel. It worked, and I kept going for another half hour. However, when I reached the last six feet of the driveway where the road grader had thrown snow, and it was much more condensed, my aching back compelled me to stop. Realizing that it was too much, I had to quit.

It's funny, but even then, I wanted to finish.

Here I'm tempted to describe the pain, but I'm not going to. However, on the humorous, but humbling, side, when we were getting ready for church on Sunday, I could not put my socks on. I couldn't bend over and I couldn't pull my feet up. So like I was a child, my husband bent down and tugged my socks on my feet and tied my shoes. What a nice man, huh? Oh, I laughed. I couldn't help myself. The situation was just so bizarre—and new.

The thing that really gets me is that many people live with pain all the time. My heart goes out to those who are hurting today.

I tend to take a healthy body for granted. I felt that ping in my back and I continued working regardless. I ignored it. I didn't take into account that I can't push myself like that anymore or I will suffer the consequences.

Last week I made a list of twelve things I'm thankful for as a reminder to be thankful all year and not just on Thanksgiving Day. When I first wrote the list I had ten items, then I thought of two more things. One of those last-listed items was good health. Yes, now I'm rethinking its importance. Maybe I will rewrite my list and put the blessing of good health closer to the top.

For anyone who lives with back pain—or some other activity-hindering ache—may God touch you and heal you today. I feel for you. I ache for what you live with each moment.

Today, as I think of things I take for granted, I ponder being able to put on my own socks. Such a little thing, really, but oh so important in this cold weather. Maybe tomorrow I will feel good enough to put on the Christmas socks I love to wear in December—the cute ones a student gave me for a gift.

Well, maybe...


  1. Good to take time to remember these things... thank you for sharing!

  2. We now live far enough south to seldom have enough snow to scoop, but growing up in Illinois we had plenty of it, so I can understand your situation. Hope you recover quickly.

  3. I hope you are feeling better! I tend to hurt my back now and then and found stretching excercizes really help:) Blessings!

  4. Thanks, everyone! It's funny how when we hurt ourselves, it can affect so many other areas of our lives--and the simple things we take for granted. Thank you all for your concern and well-wishes.

    Terri, thanks for a great reminder. Another friend offered the same suggestion, and I'm going to do crunches throughout the day. :o)

  5. Thank you Mary for your encouraging words you are a blessing to me and I appreciate your blog and can relate. God bless and have a wonderful Christmas!

  6. Thanks, Laura.

    Yesterday I was able to put on my own socks, and I drove into town. Huge improvement. Praise Jesus!