There are times when I feel guilty just for being healthy. This morning, I left my wife, Ann, to go snowshoeing. For the past few days she's been having a terrible time with her RA flareups and extremely dry eyes, both at the same time. “I can deal with one,” she said, “but not both at the same time.”
I offered to stay home with her. “No,” she said. “There's no
reason you should stay home and be miserable, just because I am.”
The thing is, she's right—and she's wrong. While there's really
nothing I can do to help her—for me, I hate feeling helpless to
help--there's something to be said for staying home for the sake of
I was gone for five hours. I traveled through some beautiful
scenic countryside, up the road to Guardsman's Pass in Big Cottonwood
Canyon. I got a lot of good exercise and breathed in a lot of clean
air. My blood was pumping and my sweat glands were working
proficiently. My legs began to burn as I pushed on toward the pass,
but I finally made it. I stood there taking in the view for a few
minutes, talked to a couple of snowmobilers who had made their way up
to join me, then headed back down.
The rest of the afternoon I've been there for Ann. I'm still
trying to figure out how to help the eye situation—I did call her
eye doctor and arranged an appointment for next week—and I massaged
the area in her neck that's been giving her fits through this
flareup. She needed help with her shower and lotion put on afterward.
I was happy to do it. Sometimes the strong can only do so much to
help the weak and suffering, and the rest must be left up to God and time.
It can be a frustrating experience being unable to help someone
you love through their trials. There's something I need to learn from
this, and maybe it's just that I can't make everything all better.
And maybe it's that even though I can't make things better, I can be
a support and a help through the trials. When it comes right down to it, the help we give or don't give in the times of need is what makes us good people or indifferent people. I hope I'm never indifferent to the suffering of my loved ones. That would be a tragedy indeed.