Campfires, pain, and joy

Over the past three years, I haven’t been able to enjoy a good old campfire with my advisees on our yearly start-of-school year retreat. This year we were finally able to do so, but I suffered an injury while exercising a few days before, sending me straight to the ER and my doctor, who thought I wanted a note to get me out of the retreat. Quite the contrary, I was hoping to get some pain relief before the overnight trip to get to know my advisees and enjoy a return to normalcy. Unfortunately, COVID took away so much joy and connection that I didn’t want to miss out on. Unfortunately, I’m a bit hardheaded and will endure pain rather than skip something I might enjoy. My doctor was a bit taken aback but gave me some pain relief which came in handy in the evenings.

As we got on the busses and headed to our destination in the California woods, my pain started to fade without medication and only visited me at night. Therefore, I could hike, play, and participate in all the enjoyable activities to create a sense of community and bring everyone a renewed sense of joy. The experience was tenfold because it had been a while since we all had experienced an outing like this. That might have been the key to my disappearing pain. At night, the pain came lurking back, stabbing pain. But, I was grateful to have participated in the day-long activities. You don’t know what you are missing until they take it away. An overnight retreat? Oh, no! Replaced by: When? Where? What time are we leaving? So, I chose campfires and joy over pain. It was still there, but the benefits outweighed the discomfort. As we return to normalcy, I hope for more campfires and joy, hopefully having recovered from my injury.

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