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Time for a Reality Check

Sometimes I think that God has a pretty good way of keeping me in my place…making sure I don’t get too big for my britches, if you will. Just when I think I’m not looking too bad, or I’m somewhat pleased with a certain part of my outfit, for example and the tiniest bit of a strut creeps into my step, I can certainly expect to trip. Or spill something. Or run smack dab into a door, wall, or some other inanimate object. That’s how it seems to go for me. So it’s no surprise that just after writing my post about being so grateful, and having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with my family,
and perhaps feeling a little bloated with pride at how good I have it…that Matt would say something so profoundly upsetting that it knocked me back down a few notches.

As you know, I’ve had my moments of irrational impatience for what surely must be the longest surgery recovery EVER. Of course I am aware that duh, they cut my bones and screwed them back together with pins and obviously that is going to take a while to feel better. But, as the days tick by and I wake up each morning and schlep to the bathroom with my ugly Velcro shoe, I can’t help but feel annoyed that I still can’t spring out of bed and skip to the shower like normal (insert sarcasm here). I feel disappointed that I didn’t run a race in November, and was feeling sad that I didn’t finish out the year running a Santa-themed race with Amy to sort of cap off our ‘year of learning to run’. I realize this is silly to some. But running the races meant more to me than I realized. They struck something deep inside me…that I had no idea was there. The feeling that I might actually BE a runner after all…sort of. I felt this great sense of accomplishment and pride each time I crossed a finish line. But throughout these past few weeks, I had no idea that my pitiful whining was striking its own cord with Matt.

Amy convinced me to sign up for a race in December…a short 2 mile race that I should be able to walk, if I’m not yet able to run. As we were talking, Matt seated near me on the couch, I complained about how bad I felt…watching the freaking Biggest Loser and how they hosted a 5K and Triathlon…their stories so inspirational and motivating and here I was, a total blob on the couch. I caved to the pressure to have that feeling of accomplishment one last time this year and agreed to sign up for the race…and instantly I was excited for the possibility of finishing my year of running. Hanging up the phone, however, I could see that Matt did not share my enthusiasm. At first I thought it was merely his concern that my foot wouldn’t be ready for the race, because he’s been so protective of me and wanting me to really take care of my foot as it heals. As we talked it through, though, it became clear how completely insensitive I have been. He pounded his fist into his thigh, as he does only when truly in distress, and yelled about how he would NEVER be able to run. His words pretty much sucked the breath right out of my lungs. Here I was moaning about not being able to run for a few months…and he hasn’t been able to run for five years. I knew that in the beginning of my running he was envious…sad that he couldn’t be out there running with me…and I thought of him often on my long training runs for the ½ marathon and how I could push through the pain because I COULD run…and he couldn’t. But these past few weeks where I’ve been moping around the house, complaining about my inability to be as active as I want…I never even thought about how I must sound to him. Seeing the anguish in his eyes that night…how deeply I had hurt him…not only crushed my excitement, but definitely brought me back down a few notches.

I didn’t know quite what to say to him, except that my insensitivity was completely unintentional. But even that fact hurt him…and all I could do was apologize for being so self-centered. I probably needed the reality check…that if my silly plans to run so many races a year doesn’t pan out…well, I’ll manage. There are bigger losses, for sure. And boy, oh boy, was that a good reminder.


Emily said…
Oh, Emily, what a tough moment for both of you. I can't speak for Matt, but I bet that most of the time, he loves it that you continue to see him as a strong and protective husband who gives you comfort and love through the tough moments of life. If you lived every moment trying to cut a wide swath around his limitations, he would hate it. But every now and then reality is going to bite; and it's not because you're self-centered, it's because it sucks. Now and then you're going to want to pound your fists together.

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