Convalescing in the World of Love and Hurts

“Rest is … a sabbath to make sense of what has happened.”

They used to immobilize ankles when they were sprained
Wrap them up, maybe even put them in a cast
But now they think that getting them back in motion
May be the best way to heal fully
Rest is a good thing—a sabbath to make sense of what has happened
But being immobilized, It’s unnatural
It leads to stiffness,
our parts lose track of their part in our lives
Animals lick their wounds even when it hurts
Keeping them from drying up awkwardly and closing to the world
But we stop that with bandages and coverings
Is there any more awkward sight than a dog with a head cone struggling
to lick himself
Our hearts break. They need deep healing.
We try to wrap them in a cast or armor,
protect them from the germs and threats of the world,
immobilize them to prevent further injury
Then we find new, safer patterns of walking in the world,
always favoring the unstable part
We limp, careful not to ask too much of the hurt part,
wrapping it tight when we enter situations that could hurt it again
The limp becomes part of us, part of how we are in the world.
With time, it dives just under the surface.

At some point, we don’t even know it’s there,
but others do, asking us if we are hurt when it becomes more pronounced
in places of exhaustion or fear.
Hurt?? No, I’m fine!
It’s just how I walk when I’m tired…
When our hearts are slightly sprained, we give them a rest
with tv or books or alcohol,
we distract from the pain until it becomes a part of us

When our hearts break, we immobilize them,
covering them or our whole chests with ace bandages and plaster of paris,
we tighten them, restricting blood and breath and life
until the pain subsides

Then when we are ready, we unwrap them,
but they are smaller and harder now.
The broken part is reinforced with scar tissue in an irregular pattern,
restricting its expansion and impacting the flow of life blood
The new way of healing ankles is with rest and movement,
testing our range of motion beyond where it hurts,
walking naturally with compassion but without limping,
with ice to reduce the inflammation and massage to break down the scars,

Contact with the reality of the pain through healing touch
What if we were to treat our hearts that way?
Would we be more supple and available?
Would we limp less or not at all as we ventured out again?
Would we be better prepared for the next challenge the world threw our way?

I want to convalesce in the world of love and hurts.


—Photo credit: otisarchives3/Flickr

About Steve Milan

Steve Milan, LCSW is a therapist in Austin, TX who works primarily with men and couples. He is also a father, a son, an ex-husband, an ex-CPA, a partner to his sweetie, and an Ultimate Frisbee player. Steve has been writing for his own sake off and on over the years.


  1. “our parts lose track of their part in our lives” –my favorite line 🙂 Nice brother!


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