Sunday, July 31, 2011

Heart Pain

This past week I've been "working out" (I'm using that term rather loosely) every day at the gym down the road using time I usually spend blogging and reading.  Boo to the latter.

I have noticed, however, some benefits to daily exercise.  I can keep up with my son Theo at the park without getting out of breath, sleep deeply at night, and not feel guilty about eating that extra whole wheat chocolate chip cookie.  My "fat"pants aren't so darn tight.  

Treading on that @$%* elliptical for 30 minutes every day has definitely put me more in touch with my physical body.  In the past week I've experienced cramps, shooting pains, numb toes (apparently my tennis shoes are too small) and sore muscles.  I've sweat enough liquid to fill a small swimming pool, and every afternoon on that darn machine my face and body turn bright, beet red.  (This attractive coloring lasts for several hours past the workout.)  I've known since middle school that my face turns red after running and that sore muscles are a result of working hard, but I have experienced something else I never, ever expected.

Grievers often find that their inner pain exhibits itself through their physical body - studies show that people in a prolonged stage of high-stress grief are at increased risk for heart attacks, heart disease, ulcers, and kidney stones (among other things).  One of the best and most difficult pieces of advice my spiritual director gave me was to "make friends" with my inner pain, and during my daily workouts this week I made the initial steps toward doing this.  How, you may ask?

Well, I have finally found my pain's physical location.  It's in my heart.  My heart hurts so much.  It feels constricted, broken, aching, throbbing, heavy, so, so, heavy it can be difficult to breathe.  In the last eight months since Vincent died, my whole body has felt heavy all day long, sluggish, unresponsive, numb, unhappy.  But now, now all this inner pain is all centering itself in my heart where it throbs at odd moments every day, triggered by memories, songs, pictures, words, images. 

Now that I have discovered the location of my pain, all that remains is for me to simply "make friends" with it.

...I'll let you know how that goes.  


Anonymous said...

Ah, I've been thinking about you all I know where you've been.

I'm so glad that you're at the gym doing something for yourself...despite the pain, inside and out. Will continue to pray about your 'making friends' with the pain.

I know one thing that amazed me in my recent issues with my heart, everything is connected, so I can totally understand the feelings you're experiencing in your body...though mine were caused by other triggers. (((HUGS)))

AGohl said...

Hi Rebecca,

I know you don't know me very well (probably because we haven't seen each other since I was like 11 and I am now 25 :) ) I'm Ashley - originally from Pastor Dan and Aunt Jane Caram's church in Erie... I have always remembered you because I thought you were the most beautiful piano player I had ever heard and wanted to play just like you when I got older. :)

I actually wanted to share something with you - last night I had a dream about you and your hubby..As I've been reading your blog posts the past several months you have been on my heart... and last night I dreamed you were visiting my hubby and I in our apartment and that there was a joy and peace that just radiated off of your faces, as a couple who had been through the fire, been met by Jesus, and come out as purified gold.

I just wanted to share that with you.

I am glad that you are getting healthy at the gym!

Rebecca said...

Thanks Ashley for sharing - what a wonderful dream! That's such an encouragement to me, thank you! And I loved your church in Erie, Aunt Jane and Uncle Dan were the coolest people to visit (plus Aunt Jane's house was always so gorgeous and had lots of fun stuff to look at. What great memories.)