Workplace Injuries

Some injuries don’t show up on MRIs. Those deep wounds that sever psychological/emotional muscles – like torn tendons. And the only thing to do is leave it alone. Give it time. Get on with life, but move with more caution for a while.

Sometimes I think working so closely with teenagers creates a kind of repetitive injury. All the hurt that your heart tries to absorb causes an inflammatory response that never quite has time to heal.

It’s like dancing under a window ledge with a mattress, worried that you are encouraging the worst possible scenario, but afraid to walk away from something acute and so very, very real.

I know that is a lot of metaphor.

We go on. I don’t know how sometimes.

For a living, I listen eight hours a day to the voices

of the anxious and the sad. I watch their beautiful faces

for some sign that life is more than disaster–

it is always there, the spirit behind the suffering,

the small light that gathers the soul and holds it

beyond the sacrifices of the body. Necessary light.

I bend toward it and blow gently.

– Patricia Fargnoli. From “The Roofmen”.

From her book Necessary Light.

After so many years, this remains one of my favorite poems. And Patricia, one of the people I most admire. Oh, all the hurt in the world. They are special people who can spend their entire days tending to it without breaking or solidifying under the weight of it.

I ran alone this morning, my knee complaining just a little – just enough for me to wrap it for yoga practice afterward. I am learning to pay attention to the warning signals before it turns into full-blown runner’s knee again. That is a kind of progress in regard to the inevitable wearing of my body.

It is all about listening, and adjusting … and continuing.

Last night I had a cramp in the same leg. Alarm bells went off and I wondered if I should go get a d-dimer test. E. laughed, and hugged me. And apologized for laughing. I googled “stress and leg cramps”, and “stress and blood clots”.

I took an aspirin and went to bed.

Trust is such a difficult thing. Losing trust in someone is one thing – maybe worse is knowing someone has lost trust in you.

And it is just weird meta-sh*t when the person you lose trust in is yourself.

6 Replies to “Workplace Injuries”

  1. In the “small world” department, I live in New Hampshire just down the road from Patricia Fargnoli and teach in the Lifelong Learning program where she used to teach poetry. Amazing vibration of some sort to connect me to you and her to you and me out of the blue. Or something like that.

  2. how little do we really know our worlds? would an embrace say this with more grace? as eight thousand miles is to me, western shore to western shore. as words are one step out of reach, yet even so these plowed lines arrive and curl into my head of feelings, better said.

    “Be patient. Your future will come to you and lie down at
    your feet like a dog who knows and loves you no matter
    what you are.

  3. working so closely with teenagers creates a kind of repetitive injury…yeah, that. I work with college freshmen, but they’re basically adult teenagers. Sometimes I feel worn inside, there’s a bruise that doesn’t heal and makes me weary.

    But also: they can make me feel so much shine.


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