Walking Laps

[Listen to Asha read this story]

(Told by Elizabeth Palmer)

After I had emergency surgery for a burst appendix, Swamiji invited me to recuperate in the guestroom at the Crystal Hermitage. He also was recovering from surgery and both our doctors had prescribed walking a certain distance every day to hasten the healing process.

It was the middle of winter, much too cold to walk outside, so we did indoor "laps": Circle the living room, up the stairs, through the dining room, around the kitchen then back again.

I enjoyed this blissful interlude with Swamiji, but I also felt guilty. My workmates were all putting in long hours to meet an important deadline. It frustrated me that I couldn’t help them.

“I feel so useless,” I said to Swamiji. (I am inclined to think I have to earn God’s love.)

With a twinkle in his eye, Swamiji replied, “You are useless. Why hide from the truth?”

We both began to laugh. Two near invalids, already staggering as we walked around the Hermitage, and now laughing so hard we could barely walk at all.

The surgery did diminish my capacity to work. That moment with Swamiji helped me accept what I had become. Just because my outer circumstances were different, that didn’t have to change my inner joy.

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