Its been said you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone.
This week one my jobs was installing some backyard retic and 70m of turf in a home in Alkimos, a job I’d usually knock off by lunchtime, but I was feeling a bit ginger and sore so it didn’t go as expected.
You see running hasn’t worked out. The very first run I did saw my knees hurting quite badly. I pressed on thinking it was just settling back into new routines and all would be well. The pain persisted so on return home I spoke to my physio who advised me to keep going. Probably not his finest moment… I kept going another two weeks dosing up on anti-inflammatories and hoping things would come good.
But they didn’t. I stopped the anti-inflams and went to see him, with a very sore left knee and clear swelling. My body was yelling ‘stop!’ but I was trying not to listen. This time he agreed I should stop running and I didn’t need much persuasion.
That was Tuesday morning as I was about to hit the job in Alkimos. I couldn’t bend down easily at all on the left so it was going to be a hard day either way. Then with the first dip of the shovel my back kinked on the right hand side. One of those random things that can happen when you’re tying your shoelaces or bending over to pick up the newspaper even. Suddenly I couldn’t bend at the knees or hips and both were shooting pain thru the body.
I pushed on and got the job done despite the pain – you do what you have to do – but midway thru as I was trying to kneel on the ground and join pipes I found myself thinking maybe my days of doing this are over… Maybe I need to give this body a break and go back to a more cruisy and sensible job.
The disappointment I felt was deep. And it made me realise I really enjoy what I do.
I still can’t really fathom that.
At face value its pretty basic manual labour, and many times over the last 10 years I have wanted to give it away. But in the last 12 months particularly I have found myself enjoying it – feeling alive in it – and that sense of disappointment wasn’t about losing an income, or the lifestyle that goes with it. I could employ someone to ‘be me’ – that would be easy – but it was about the possibility of losing the ability to do something I enjoy.
I’m sure I could pick up a full time ministry job somewhere, or even go back to teaching, but that’s not where my heart is these days. To roll into a local backyard on a sunny winter day and spend the morning doing some serious work that ends in an instant transformation is rewarding. The conversations I find myself having with clients often go to unexpected places and that is rewarding too. Knowing you are serving people and going to leave them with the best job they can get is also a good feeling.
I worked again on Thursday with the back pain easing slightly and the leg still dodgy and now I’ve got a week off when hopefully it will settle and get back to normal.
Some days you don’t like what you do. It annoys you and feels like an impediment to the life you wish you had. Perhaps it just needs to get taken away for you to realise its value.
That was my realisation this week – and I’m grateful.