It used to be that one of the grand mysteries of life to me was the athlete who knowingly played on an injury. Why on earth would anyone do that to themselves? So short-sighted. Listen to your body. Pain is telling you something you need to know.
Well, life has a sometimes unkind way of teaching us why others make the choices they do. And I discovered things I love being taken away from me because of my own injury. The surgeon was pretty straightforward about one: you should never run again. About that I’ve been good. So far. In recent weeks I have been incredibly tempted to strap on my shoes and just do a mile or two. Just once. That should be ok, right? It couldn’t possibly make that much difference in my lifetime chances of having to have surgery again. Right? Right?
About everything else I’m on my own. I need to listen to my body. Make my choices accordingly. So I’m still not back at the yoga studio. And I haven’t been playing the organ. Until this week.
In my defense, it’s hard to listen to your body when you don’t give it a chance to talk. I mean, after not attempting to play the organ for so long, I really didn’t know what it might or might not do to me. With four practice sessions under my belt this week, now I know. So what does it feel like? Hmm. Imagine a snake slithering and squeezing its way from the base of your spine to the top, sinking its teeth into your right shoulder blade and pulling. Something like that. Not fun.
I tell my body that I’m too young to have these problems. My body laughs hysterically and tells me to check my math.
This is the thing about the organ. I find it exhilaratingly difficult. Really hard in a really great way. Is it crazy to love something because of its difficulty? The organ forces me to pour myself into every moment of playing it. It’s the pedals, the remembering when to rock from heel to toe and when to cross under and use a different foot. It’s the left hand – trying to talk it into playing only its own notes and not the bass notes I’m already playing with the feet. It’s both the hands and the feet – trying for the legato that a piano’s resonance makes easy. If – and it’s a big IF since I’m so rusty – the performance goes well on Sunday, I will get to truly experience the organ playing thrill for the first time in more than two years.
Well, it won’t be a regular gig. Maybe I can handle it once or twice a year. But I do think I’ll play on this injury again.