Growing Pains: The Struggle of Learning Life’s Lessons

When I was a teenager I made a mad dash to a gangly 5’8.” I would grow so fast I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night struck down with a lightning bolt in my calf muscles. The doctors always shrugged it off saying they were growing pains and very normal. Sprouting to an adult self before the age of 13 really takes its toll on a body. But the concept that my body was growing at a rate that was too fast, painfully fast, always stayed with me.

Though I do treat a lot of adult patients for calf cramps, as adults our growing pains are different. You all know what I’m talking about—the weeks or months when we fight the world tooth and nail without any explanation as to why life suddenly became so hard. These last few weeks I must have been growing. Something started shifting and bumping up against my usual universe and everything felt all wrong.

The details of the last few weeks are vague. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly where obstacles came from or what lessons I was even supposed to be learning, but my body is tired out and sore from the work. The universe seemed to be up to something and so I made a date with myself this weekend to just listen.

When I sat down to look back at the last few weeks to figure things out I came across one beautiful moment that I was too frenzied to appreciate.

Last weekend I had the gift of spending a few hours with two of my favorite people in the world. They both have their own special gifts and even though we didn’t get to catch up as well as I would have liked we had a brief moment in the driveway as I was saying goodbye. We stood for a long time hugging and savoring our last moment of being together and I realized how lonely I have been lately. The busyness of running my practice and struggling to tame my disorganized life had left me very lonely during the month of May. But standing there in the driveway saying goodbye, really making eye contact and being seen was energizing and empowering. I suddenly felt stronger and brighter than I had in weeks.

Then something unexpected happened, one of my friends asked if she could pray for me. With my permission she took my hands in hers, closed her eyes and started talking to God.

I’m a spiritual person with more comfort in the seasons, the organ systems and the miraculous network of humanity than a God with a capital g, but it made me cry. The first thought that passed through my mind was not one of objection, not one of embarrassment or dismissal. My first thought was why didn’t I think of that. Not that I would have prayed to a god or goddess or directly asked the universe for help. But I never really thought to stop and ask for what I wanted. I didn’t know how to ask for help.

If you haven’t done it lately, crying openly and fully without embarrassment in front of friends who love you is a wonderful experience. It is far more cathartic and healing that crying alone or in front of a very distressed and worried husband. Friends have the amazing capacity to just love and to see.

There is a glorious and terrible volatility to spring. Emotions run wild and life seems to take advantage of the warm weather to cause our inner selves to bloom.

I don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to know after this period of intense learning, but I’ve decided to return fully to all the loved ones in my life I’ve been missing lately. It feels good to laugh hard and be light in conversation. It also feels good to tell someone you trust that it’s been hard out there lately. It feels great to ask for help and hear ideas for wellness I hadn’t considered. It certainly doesn’t make struggle go away but it opens the window and let’s some fresh air in. It makes way for healing to begin.

Image credit: khunaspix / 123RF Stock Photo

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