Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Slowing down

Slowing down.
That's what Beve has learned lately. He doesn't stop easily. His is a body made for motion. Before there was such an idea as Attention Deficit Disorder, he had it. As a child he couldn't sit still. I remember this. I remember the tall boy in wing-tip shoes who could slide down the steep hill at our elementary school when it was snow-covered and kids lined up like snakes to take their turns on the well-packed tracks. That hill has been bull-dozed away now, but it lives in my memory and with it, lives that tall boy who put the rest of us to shame with his athleticism and power. He could slide down the hill and across the parking lot, missing the light pole (helpfully padded with an old mattress) almost into the wall of the school building itself.  When there was no snow on the hill, he chased the girls, pulled our hair, or played football up on the plateau.  And he was the boy with so much energy he drove his fifth grade teacher not only out of the profession but clear out of the country back to Canada, or so the legend goes.

And Beve was the teenager who spent every free hour of every day, playing basketball. Even after basketball practice, he and his buddies would hightail it up to the college gyms, find some pick-up games with college students, and more likely than not, beat those students to a bloody pulp, until they got kicked out of that gym, then the next gym, then the next, until they'd used up all the gyms on campus. By default then, he'd go home and shoot a bit at the old hoop his dad had put up in the family driveway.

And so his continual motion has carried into our marriage. He's always the first up in the morning, first up from the table, first to do the dishes, out the door to do whatever he can find to do. There's just so much action in this man I've spent my life with. It's like he's one big fast-twitch muscle that doesn't even stop when he goes to sleep. I've grown used to the leg twitching that makes out bed shake, the way he walks out of rooms when we're having conversations because he just thought of something he has to do and it can't wait another minute. I've grown used to his mowing lawns that began when he had to stop playing basketball (due to bad knees), and the competitive drive that makes him feel satisfied when he breaks his personal record for lawns mowed in a single day (17 at last count!). In fact, This is the man to whom I'm married, this bundle of energy, this leg-shaking, this "Don't talk about it, just do it!" son of his mother who first coined those words to me.  So he moves. To work longer hours than anyone else in his building, to care for the staff, to be there and be there and be there, even if that means leaving the house at 5 AM and not returning home until 7 PM. I knew what I was getting into, and I'm far enough in now, that I wouldn't change him.

For all his action, he's NOT a driver. That is, he doesn't move in order to produce. He doesn't care about getting ahead or being noticed or being promoted. He merely cares about doing well what has to be done. But sometimes even the most active of people hit a wall. Things pile up. Relationships can't be solved by doing. This is what happened to Beve ten days ago. So, with his administration's blessing (even encouragement), he took last week off. And it rejuvenated him. Helped him see more clearly what needed to be seen. Helped him let out the breath he's been holding about his dad, his son, his wife, his life. He came home from that much-needed time with our friends, ready to dive into the work ahead.

But last Friday, on his way to meet a colleague, he lifted a box of books wrong. Or something else equally benign. He doesn't really know. And put his back out. And when I say he put his back out, I don't mean he wrenched it so that it was sore and achy if he moved the wrong way. I mean it flayed him. Made him horizontal for two days. And just when he began to feel incrementally better, he tried to move our now-100lb. 10-month old puppy, and took a giant step backwards to worse than it had been before. To more pain than I've ever seen my giant in. He's been unable to walk, put on his own underwear or do anything for the last four days.  Even the mighty can fall.

We've been to the doctor twice and know it's merely muscle spasm, but those are enormous muscles at the bottom of his enormous spine and the spasms must be the same size. If you knew him you'd understand. Beve just doesn't spend days in bed doing nothing. He just doesn't. It's been a time out of time. Strange that I've been the strong one, the healthy one who has to care for him.

He's slightly better tonight. Thinks he'll try going to work tomorrow.
We'll see how long he lasts.
I'll be glad to see my strong, active husband return.

I did tell him today that maybe God's been using this to get his attention. I'm not saying that I think God did this, just that God uses whatever happens to us, and works in it for His purposes. So He's slowed down Beve. And, for my money, that's no small task.

For most of us in this world, that's probably true. Slowing down enough to simply be. So we can feel whatever it is that we're feeling about all the stuff in our lives.  That's what Beve has done thes last couple of days. And it's been hard and good all at once.


M said...

Tell uncle Beve to send his productivity along this way. He'll be able to relax more and I'll actually get things done that way.
Miss you guys and I hope he gets better!

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Yeah, I can relate. We aren't hyper here like your Beve, but when I was younger I wound up in a hospital for a week with a benign illness(didn't know it when I went in), but God needed some time to talk to me and get my attention. Shortly after my hubby and I headed off to Bible college to prepare for the ministry...that's what God wanted to talk to me about...So, sometimes God definitely does use our "down times" to point us to the "up times" He has prepared for us. Expect great things ahead!!