It’s Just a Half-inch

It’s Just a Half-inch

A few weeks ago I posted an article about practicing gratitude even in the storm of discomfort and suffering. That article was precipitate by a nine-month sports injury and finally surgery.  I am currently in the recovery mode with physical therapy twice weekly. I hope to get the bright shiny heavy-gage stainless steel pin sticking out of the end of my second toe removed in one week from this writing. I am in and will remain confined to a downhill ski-like orthotic boot for who knows how long! As with my last article, I am in no way trying to whine or reach out for sympathy. This simply serves as a metaphor for life.

I would like to draw your attention to my Godzilla of an orthotic boot. It works! It immobilizes my foot so I don’t mess up the pin in my toe. It also immobilizes my ankle, shin, and calf muscles. It is completely stiff, just like the old ski boots. It also has a thick and elevated ridged “sole”. While this is very good for my right foot, it means I am about an inch taller on my right side than my left. To compensate I have a “crampon” type lift-device to give me more elevation on my left leg.

Unfortunately I am still about ½ inch lower on my left side rather than my right. Big deal, right? Well as it turns out that ½ inch is a big deal. Shifting me out of balance has created an enormous amount of hip pain, which even the most robust pain medications hardly touch. Fortunately my very talented physical therapist did some adjustments, which had a profoundly positive difference.

This experience has made me think about all the micro differences in our lives that have the potential to make profound differences:

  • While fly-fishing a friend hooked his eyelid. One tiny bit more and the fly would have been in his eye…perhaps blinding him forever.
  • A small tumor in the brain growing very close to a most important area of neural functioning.
  • A tiny bone spur on your vertebrae precariously close to your spinal cord.
  • While driving and texting you veer just a few feet over the centerline right into a head-on crash.
  • When shot that bullet, which lodged in President Regan chest was less than an inch from his heart.

Then what about those “only slightly important” decisions we make which can also deliver profound consequences:

  • Not monitoring ourselves when we snap at our boss.
  • Deciding to put off a colonoscopy.
  • “Okay I will have another scoop of ice cream”…again.
  • Fooling ourselves that we are sober enough to drive when we are not.
  • Choosing to stay in a relationship because we know we can change the other person.
  • Postponing our walk, again, because we don’t have the energy.
  • Choosing to get married out of convenience even though our inner voice is screaming at us to run.
  • Not wearing our CPAP device because it is embarrassing.

There are many ways to loose our balance whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, or socially. We usually know when the large imbalances occur but the more subtle imbalances can be just as profound…even if it is only ½ inch.

Tim Berry

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