The Process

Today I completed the third physical therapy session for my hands. I hadn’t been in a hospital in years, and now I’m going twice a week. Life is strange.

One of the hardest parts of therapy is the constant reminder that you’re limited, that there’s something you could do before and now cannot. Something as simple as bending a few fingers.

But each coin has a flip side. In this case, physical therapy is a constant reminder that there’s room for growth.

The photo below shows how far I can bend the index and middle fingers on my right hand. It’s farther than I could a week ago, even a few days ago. The progress with my left pinkie, the other broken finger, is even better.

One of the strategies to get through any stressful situation is to appreciate the process. Take a step back and gain a broader perspective. Listen to your heart beat, the faint hum of the refrigerator, the whoosh of a car passing on the street.

Valuing the process is something I’ve long struggled with. I’ve always tended to be a Point A-to-Point B kind of person. It’s why I hate getting lost or getting stuck in traffic when driving. During my undergrad days at Susquehanna University, I had to make a lot of treks from one corner of the compact campus to another. Those treks usually would follow a straight line, across knolls, up hills and over roads. Sidewalks were obstacles.

But like driving or walking from one place to another, therapy is a process with a defined beginning and end. Life’s like that too. And if you don’t appreciate the growth, the process, then the moments in between have no value and become empty spaces.

Those moments aren’t always easy or pleasant, and sometimes you will get completely lost. Pause and take a deep breath. Bend your fingers and see the beauty in an act you’ve done thousands of times without thinking. Appreciate the moment before it vanishes into the next.

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