. E X E

burned my wrist in dishwashing incident. both wrists are officially afflicted, affecting my work and typing. i’ve been here before. not with my wrists, but with other parts of my body and like everything, i seek a deeper meaning to the cause than ‘placed wrist on hot metal and oops’.

right wrist pain has moved progressively upwards, hanging out at elbows and eventually weaving its way to right shoulder.  of course i tried to ignore it, until i couldn’t. so i put on some clothes and invited tylenol, who was boring as all hell and as effective as staring at a saltine cracker to quench my thirst. so i got dolled up, hair, makeup, the works and invited the big guns, ibuprofen, who always ends up being more boring and puts me to sleep. what i prepare for and what my visitors show up for always leaves me questioning preparation and visitors.

going another way i decided to get clarity on my body’s muscle strength, to compare the left and right sides. the body composition printout is done and while i’d prefer to say i discovered an unknown dali print on a random excavation trip, it’s instead framed so i can see the truth. not literally, just figuratively in my head. seemed my legs were equally fat but one decidedly weaker than the other. I already knew that. my arms however were of equal fat and equal strength.

aha! there it was.

my wrist was whispering and since i ignored her my entire arm began screaming as my other wrist decided to jump on stage and join in on the chorus. burn baby burn…

well, they’ve got my attention, reiterating what i already know so unless the aim is to have one arm permanently weaker than the other, i need to heed my wrist songs. silent night…

this wrist experience brought to mind a man i once knew and worked with for only a short time. he was a computer programmer by day and artist by night. he’d personally built our company’s database that broke every week so every week i called him and no matter how late i worked he showed up without complaint and we sat side by side so he could walk me through how to investigate and fix the underlying issues. that’s not really what he was doing. he was actually fixing it himself while explaining the steps. i just told myself he was training me.

he was very overweight, somewheres around 350-400 pounds and had difficulty walking. when he sat next to me it was clear he also had trouble breathing.

i hated that database with a passion but the man i really enjoyed. he was in his mid-sixties, a grandfather and treated everyone i saw him interact with as kin.

in the middle of a project one friday evening around 8pm i called him when the database crashed. he was out and about so said he’d come right over and did.

for over twenty years he and his wife owned a small glass and window shop and one of his hobby’s was creating stained glass art. after he fixed the database and before he left that evening he gifted me a stained-glass lighthouse business card holder that he’d personally handcrafted. the day hadn’t been designated as special and because it was an ‘ordinary’ day i found his gift especially special.

the following monday his wife called my boss with the news of his passing. he had died on the way home the evening he gifted me the lighthouse. 

his loss was felt by everyone. maybe because he’d donated his time to the company for over two years. maybe because he was the only one in the world who knew the nuts and bolts of the database. maybe because of any number of moments shared with an individual that no one else would ever know about.

i didn’t know him long but he taught me a lot. the reason i think of him now is because his wife told my boss that he’d been having chest pains all night but had ignored them. he couldn’t know he was only hours away from a massive heart attack.

i know what can happen when the body is ignored but am also aware that when it’s listened to, things still sometimes happen.

thing is, i never wanted to use that database, only ever wanted to change it to something i understood and which i thought others could as well. he taught me the value of placing patience in process by showing me the secrets held within appearances because very often what i thought was broken never was. everything was always fixed with an adjustment, a new command, an internal or external reference. 

today i consider the mind to be the executable of the human heart and sometimes the idea makes sense to me but only in theory. why? because i’ve also worked with executors who have no will.

everything we learn someone has suffered to be able to teach so my share is not intended to sow sadness.

in fact, before his gift i’d not once given thought to what a lighthouse really was.  the year he passed i visited one, took an art class and painted one with acrylics on canvas and even made homemade business cards even though i had no business.

we are all so inextricably linked that my heart is often overcome in the tender purpose of light keepers and lighthouses, at how sometimes we lead and other times seek to find our way.