There’s a luminous quality to joy, when one has been robbed of it for an age and an age. Perhaps particularly so when one has acted as the thief of joy as well as the bereft one in this drama we call life.
For over seven years, I’ve adamantly refused to consider hip replacement surgery. Yet, in less than a month, I’ve decided to do it; had the initial consult with the surgeon; and scheduled surgery for early next year.
Other than finalizing the logistics, there’s very little to do but wait for the date to arrive. Which leaves me with plenty of time to ruminate upon the oh-so-important reasons that I’ve refused this pain-fix option for years…or for ruminating upon the incipient joy of moving freely once again.
The funny thing is, when I daydream about how lovely it’s going to be after surgery, I’m not thinking, “Oh good, no more pain.” The absence of discomfort is merely a baseline, the human right to dwell within an optimally functional earth suit. For whatever reason (certainly nothing I’ve consciously done), I recently stopped thinking in terms of “I want the pain gone” and began living the reality of “Look at the joy I’ll experience.”
I wonder if, even though most of us know the precept of visualizing what we want rather than what we don’t want, we sometimes inadvertently focus on remediating the woes we want banished rather than the magical New Earth that beckons us. We’re focusing on the absence of global pain instead of the presence of global joy.
I’m told that people bounce back very quickly after a hip replacement. You’re walking around shortly after waking up from surgery, and full physical restoration is well underway mere days after that.
Struggling mightily with daily chores will become a thing of the past. No more will it require major effort to clean the cats’ litter boxes, vacuum the house, sweep the patio…but I’m not thinking about how much easier the drudgery will be. I’m thinking about the Goleta dance studio on Hollister Avenue that offers lessons in ballet, jazz dancing, and tap.
I’ve always wanted to learn tap. I’m finding it easy to forget about old pain, and focus on the future joy of learning the shuffle step, laughing at my mistakes, and most of all, overflowing with easy, effortless physical well-being.
Some might fault me for dwelling on earthbound, physical expressions of joy. Since I feel joy (or miss joy) within the sphere of my body, however, I don’t know how else to be.
So I’m focusing on tap dancing instead of meditating, certain that the clicking metal plates on the toes of my shiny new shoes are tapping the Morse code of my joy out to the universe, and beyond.