It was quite the Monday when I walked in the office on an angle. I learned that I was not the only one to suffer the pains of the damned. Yes, that old backpain. The familiar stoop of agonized muscles forcing you to march along slowly and quietly with that faint hiss of pain as you turn or move in what is now definitely the wrong direction. You try the hot baths, stay in bed longer than you should, put on your pants one leg at time wishing for longer arms, unsuccessfully try to find some kind soul to give you a massage for free, down Aspirin instead of the painkillers you desperately want, wish the clinic had specialists ready to serve your slightest back needs and so on.

I don’t like to think of myself as a child any more but when I get a really bad back going I just wish mom was around to make it better.

But in every cloud there is a little bit of a silver lining. You just have to search for it. In fact sometimes you really have to dig deep.

Ernie threw out his back helping good friends move. No moral here but that people do go out of their way to help good friends. While he regrets the back attack he doesn’t regret helping a friend out. Ernie’s always been that kind of guy willing to pay the price for friendship. Don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t one at times!

First time Neil ever had one he was bending down to pick up a pair of pants. He felt a shooting pain and walked into the living room where he collapsed. Someone had to help him put on his pants. Any other time he might have enjoyed it but not this time. Pain is such a distraction. Neil says he’s planning to exercise to build those back muscles up. He says he has also learned that it is true you must bend the knees when you pick up something. A lesson true and occasionally hard-learned. As for the exercise I predict it will never really become a part of Neil’s lifestyle. Everyone, including me, has promised to exercise to avoid the dreaded Hunchback of Notre Dame shuffle, but when the pain is gone there isn’t any initiative… until next time.

As for me I went biking and learned some important lessons. The shortcuts you have used on foot are not the shortcuts you should use on a mountain bike. Another was that the trail changes from year to year. I think anyone in the bush could tell you that but living in a community or city it becomes easy to forget these little lessons. The ice storm left a lot of branches forcing me to carry the bike that was supposed to make my life easier. The walking shortcuts turned out to have a lot of stairs once again forcing me to carry my bike.

At this point some wise man among you is probably asking why didn’t I just turn back and take another route more suited to my mode of transportation. Well, dear sage, it comes down to human nature and in this case mine in particular. Like many humans I have two things going for me that have both helped and hindered me at times. I am stubborn and proud. That stubborn streak has got me through many a hard hill to climb in my life and I’m not just talking walking but doing what needs to be done. The pride I felt at those accomplishments has encouraged me to take on even greater challenges.

However, I was reminded that some of the paths we take through life that are full ofhardship and pain are not really necessary, but stubbornness and pride keep us on themlonger than is really necessary. I admit I was wrong in this case and the pain of thebackache was a small price to have this life lesson pointed out to me once again. Havethe courage to admit if you’ve gone down the wrong path. Pride and stubbornness are notbad qualities, but don’t let them control your life if the end result is nothing but pain.