Writing this out is difficult, the pain sharp in your right forearm and near your elbow. You are wearing a black brace. Your arms are extended to lessen the pain, and even in the top of your hand there is a pinch as you type.
You remember when this ordeal began: your Spring Break activities of ripping up warped wooden flooring and grading (by hand) two sets of Rhetoric & Composition II essays. The pain and soreness worsened when, as editor, you brought your journal to two large academic conferences, and you hauled that suitcase packed with issues.
Then there were more stacks of papers after that, much work on the computer, and almost every Sunday playing piano for several hours. You foolishly used the elliptical at the gym for thirty minutes one morning. You lifted weights another morning, not wanting to lose the progress you’d made via weight training.
What finally prompted you to reach out for help was the pain in the last week, and then the pain you felt Sunday night as you tried to sleep. You asked a close friend—a medical guy—what he thought the problem might be. He dropped by your house later that evening and felt your arm, asked you to attempt different movements. Each one hurt. He told you a Latinate term.
(Writing this hurts, but the pain is not merely physical.)
He told you that you needed to rest it as much as possible. He told you needed to take a break from playing piano. For a couple weeks. You said, “Well, we’ll see.” He repeated, “If you want it to heal, you need to take a break for a couple weeks.” You appreciate him for his bluntness, but you also can’t imagine not playing piano on Sunday mornings. It is one of your favorite times of the week, perhaps the favorite. Now you can’t do it for a while.
You realize that this pain is miniscule compared with the hurts (both physical and emotional) of so many people, including people you know and care for. There’s still much that you can do, and you know you need to focus on those things.
This week has been in the 70s and 80s, sunny, and you have more free time, so you would normally be playing disc golf. Nope. Even holding a book hurts, so you’ve modified something so basic to your life. It will be difficult in church on Sunday, not playing. You want to be with your fellow musicians, your friends, but as your wife (wise as always) said, “you’ll have more time on Sundays.”
There it is: you are still learning how to rest, especially when it hurts.