07 December 2016

The forgotten winter weakness

Because of my studies in Rome, this winter is effectively the first winter I have known in two years and eleven months. I cannot say that I have missed winter. There were, of course, times I was chilly in Rome, but never a time I was cold enough for my eyes or ears to hurt when I stepped outside.

A good part of my dislike of winter, though not all of it, stems from my arthritis which is mostly aggravated by the cold and damp. Aside from keeping the joints warm, there is not much that can be done about this.

When I popped over into the church this morning to unlock the doors and prepare for the 6:30 a.m. Mass, I had to laugh at my own frailty and my slow adjusting back to life in winter.

I awoke this morning feeling well-rested (thanks to a new space heater that keeps my bedroom toasty at night) without any joint pain or soreness, for which I was grateful. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I nearly collapsed straight down as I genuflected to the Eucharistic Lord. Though my joints this morning are not sore, my body is weaker than I realized, a result of what I call the winter weakness, something I had apparently forgotten about. As my right knee went down, requiring my left knee to bear my weight, my left knee decided to go down, as well. Fortunately, I realized what was happening quickly enough and was able to use my arms to slow my descent, making for a somewhat graceful collapse as I laughed aloud.

As you go about your day and encounter people who might be moving more slowly than you would like, try to be patient with them; they might have the winter weakness and their bodies may not be moving as quickly as they would like (this is something I have to remind myself of in the summer months when I feel mostly well). I find that my body is not quite ready to move the way I would like it to until about 10:00 a.m. now, when the winter weakness wears off. Being an early riser, this gives me some five hours to move about with greater care and at a slower pace than normal, and more opportunities to laugh at my own frailty while pondering the Lord's goodness to me.

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