Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings. – Lao Tzu
I’m done, D-O-N-E, with physical therapy. It’s over. Finito. The End. My lion-maned physical therapist told me to get out of his gym for the last time. An ending has surely never been so bittersweet.
Two months ago I awoke very early in a Miami hotel room situated obscenely close to both railroad tracks and the airport. With the exception of some mild discomfort I was walking well and in relatively high spirits. By that afternoon a deft and humorous surgeon had removed a tumor, part of a leg muscle, and part of a hip bone from my body. With those things went my ability to walk. The only way to describe that ending was bitter. Not a speck of sweet in it.
I’ve learned a few things since the beginning of this tumor mess. I finally got to know what a ten on the pain scale is really like. Let’s hope that’s a first and last kind of scenario, ya know? I found out what “this too shall pass” truly means. I discovered that working out with a bunch of octogenarians makes you feel like a sexy beast even when you have a chunk of leg missing. Hey, I’ll take what I can get these days. I learned that the P and T in physical therapy stand for Pain and Torture, so says my physical therapist. The only thing missing from our sessions was a mace and a ball gag.
The lesson that has most seared itself into my grey matter is that even when you have encountered the bleakest ending, there is a beginning somewhere on the horizon. Now had you tried to tell me that even a day ago, I might have met your face with my fist. I wasn’t able or willing to get it. It was dark back there, darker than I’d ever known, and I might add I’ve known dark. I’ve lived through some radically bleak times, but this milestone was immeasurably difficult. As my mobility met its ending, I wondered on more than one occasion if I was capable of making it to the next beginning.
So I’m going to try to illustrate to you, doing my very best to not get all Hallmark on your ass, that beginnings are everywhere. Even when it feels like the only thing you can touch, taste, and see are endings. The beginnings, the beginnings, they go on for miles. Sometimes they are not the ones you’d have hoped for. Sometimes they don’t appear to be beginnings at all. They are, though, and they are abundant.
Go out and get them! Say the words you’ve longed to say, but always found a reason not to. Accomplish the goal you have sworn is too difficult. Aspire to do something other than the mundane tasks in life. The beginnings, the beginnings, they go on for miles, and they are nothing but sweet. Take a bite already, would ya?