I asked a buddy who had knee surgery for some tips. He said to do the rehab and do it hard. Push myself beyond, he said. Beyond where I think I should stop. Do the rehab and do it hard. I had no idea what that meant. Still don’t. But I assumed it meant that I would get tired or sweaty or bored and I needed to push through the mental blocks to get my knee back in sand volleyball shape. After all, the last guy to use the ligament died who knows how long ago. He might even have been a lazy slob like me. So, I need to get that ligament moving in a way that guy (may he rest in peace) may never have thought of. That’ll take some perseverance.
Then came some advice from another “friend”. It will hurt, she said. It will hurt like nothing I can imagine, she said. Push through it anyway, she said. It became clear to me. What my buddy had been trying to tell me was that I had to push through the pain.
So, that’s the period of future memory that I will go through on my way to running with the girls. Before I can sand volleyball, I must endure and push through. That’s okay with me. Another buddy once asked me what my super power is. I said it is that I have a bizarre capacity for suffering. It’s a skill I developed at wrestling practice in 8th grade (I had to sit out 7th grade because of a broken finger). Whenever I would suffer, I would just separate mind from body. I would separate my present consciousness from the physical suffering. Pretty advanced stuff for a 13/14 year-old. It got me through wrestling practice (on my way to 3rd place at the city tournament, by the way). It got me through physical training in Army ROTC. It got me through couch to 5K. And it will get me through rehab.
There’s a difference this time, though. Wrestling, ROTC, and whatever were things I needed to survive. I transcended my physical discomfort to get through it. To get on to something else. This time, the suffering has a purpose. I will endure the pain so that I can be strong again. So that my physical ability matches my mental ability. I will run and ski and wrestle and carry my daughters up stairs and swing them around. Without fear.