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When Life Throws a Left Hook

 

The pain in my shoulder wasn’t going away, so I made an appointment with my doctor.

“Have you done anything to hurt it?”

“Well, per your orders, Doc, I’ve been exercising,” I replied.

“What kind of exercise?”

“Oh, I’m in a spinning class, kettlebells, boxing–“

“Whoa!” the doctor interrupted. “Boxing?”

“I’m not sparring or anything. We jump rope, shadowbox, partner up with focus mitts. I’ve been doing it for five or six months with no problems until now.”

My physician flashed an apologetic smile before saying, “You know, at your age…”

I winced at the “you’re-getting-older” speech that came next, which concluded with the professional advice to lay off boxing exercises. “But it’s my favorite class,” I protested. “Lots of cardio. We don’t throw punches the whole time.”

BoxerAs the doctor scribbled a prescription for some anti-inflammatories, he carefully explained that the twisting and striking wasn’t doing my shoulder any favors. I relented and followed his orders–that is, until the pain went away. Then I was back in boxing class, happily throwing jabs and crosses as I cracked up the class with my Rocky Balboa impersonations: “Yo, did you see that punch? I’m no bum, Mick. I’m goin’ the distance.”

The next day, the pain was back–this time in my right shoulder blade. It felt like a mini-volcano had erupted in my muscles. I took hot showers. I popped Advil. I prayed for healing. The throbbing and burning kept taunting me. Reluctantly, I took another trip to the clinic. I told my doctor what had happened.

“Maybe you should take up tai chi,” he said.

The next day, I dropped in on my boxing coach and said good-bye to the class. I felt sad, a little empty, as I returned to the parking lot. I’m still feeling a little blue.

Change is hard. Death in any form brings grief, whether it’s a loved one or a beloved activity. I must confess, it wasn’t just the loss of boxing that stung me. It was also the realization that I wasn’t getting any younger. Time and gravity were beginning to take its toll on my body. I’m entering an unknown season in my life.

I’m going to wallow in my melancholy a bit longer. But, eventually, I know I will have to move on and trust God, counting the blessings I do have.

Anybody know any good tai chi moves?

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