My friends and family know I’ve been fighting chronic pain for going on 8 months, and that about 4 weeks ago it got so bad, I had to take temporary disability leave from work.
Embarrassing to say, the pain started as something occasionally annoying in my left nut. Gradually it became more persistent and broadened its grasp to both nuts, the groin in both sides, and the lower abdomen. The biggest pain trigger was and is sitting, next worst was and is standing still. Essentially for 4 weeks the only options have been to lay down or walk.
And suddenly my oldest takes an interest in programming.
I helped him find some resources but mainly have been helping by letting him follow his own lead and just being around to help him understand concepts when he got stuck.
I haven’t been able to spend much time sitting at a keyboard the past few weeks. But standing over his shoulder, helping him debug, helping him see where his code works but takes more steps than it needs to… Nice to be useful.
My thoughts on atonement this Yom Kippur were not about sin, but about wallowing in pain and giving in to despair. To prove to God that I deserved a better year I spent the day thinking about ways I could work around or through the pain, how I could make myself useful even if the pain never gets fixed.
Teaching my son about coding, being a resource and advisor for him as he tries to write code that interests him, reminded me of my skill as a debugger and connecting with kids around code, finding a lesson in a syntax error.
Letting him take the lead, but being there to help and advise made me so happy tonight, and hopefully there will be some more tomorrow.
I’m still in pain, but feeling useful is a potent tonic. That’s what I was asking God for on Wednesday. Thursday I moved back toward some semblance of normal.