While our grandchildren are not regular steeplechase racers, our older son runs or uses the elliptical seven days a week. Leaving his home at o’dark hundred, his dedication to early practice has earned my admiration, actually my envy!
Going back to July, 1950, I was put in a very different type of early practice when my concerned parents insisted the local doctor do a spinal tap on me in his office. Yes, it was 1950, and many tests were done on site with results given within minutes.
The immediate diagnosis – polio – resulted in my car ride directly to Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York. My first early practice dealt with separation from my parents. They lived 50 miles, pre-Interstate miles, you understand, from Vassar. Rigid visitation hours were 3-5 and 7-9 on Saturdays and Sundays. I vaguely remember two or three Wednesday evening (7-9) visits, but weekends were greatly anticipated by this four-year-old. That warm July day, my parents left me in a long, narrow room with 19 others polio patients. No other was a child. Due to the epidemic that summer, the hall held six other patients, each in an iron lung. The doctor offered my parents only the hope that I would never walk again, except with the aid of double crutches and braces.
For me, early practice with suffering had more to do with emotions than with pain. It would be years before I could deal with my sometimes irrational fear of going to an unknown place alone. Consider the origin of your early suffering; it may shed insights you haven’t yet processed.