In my first softball game, in the over-a-certain-age league, I was force to run to second on a ground ball. I over ran the bag but the fielder bobbled it. Without thinking I slid back and tagged the bag. Safe!
Oh wait. My leg.
The field we play on isn't exactly Fenway Park. The infield is made up of small little sharp gray pebbles. Skin sliding on sharp pebbles equals pain. My leg was ripped to shreds and bleeding.
But the high I felt being safe outweighed the pain, temporarily.
The next day when I stood the blood rushed to the now oozing injury and walking on it caused anguish.
Some would say I never learn. I tend to give everything I've got, my blood if you will, for my job, my kids, my friends, my team.
Yes, there is a certain happiness I receive in doing good things for others. I definitely liked the street creds I got for sacrificing my body in my softball game.
But the aftermath, when I've given everything I can, I experience pain.
I wonder why I do it. What inside me needs to give to the point of emotionally exhaustion? I love too deeply, I care too much, I'm too sensitive...these are all words that have been used to describe me.
I'm too honest, I reveal too many things, I say too much. Why did you slide when you didn't have to? What did you expect?
You are wounded too easily. You don't react to things well. You need to be stronger, let things slide. You need to not care so much. Don't invest so much of yourself. You are a walking open wound.
But I am reactive. I don't think before I tear open my leg to slide safely into second base. I burst into tears when someone says something unkind, even if I'm in public. I feel everything, every slight, every hurt.
It would definitely be a heck of a lot easier to not feel so much pain, but I also feel everything deeply when good things happen too.
I get goose bumps when I see an elderly couple holding hands as they walk together down the street. I take a genuine interest when someone shares with me how their child learned how to play guitar from an instrument purchased for three bucks at a yard sale and is now going to college on a musical scholarship.
I feel. My shredded leg is throbbing three days later. My heart is forever broken from the one who walked away. I still remember how my grandfather looked at my grandmother when he told her, "I married the most beautiful girl in the world," on his deathbed.
I feel. Love fills my heart when my son is in the outfield playing baseball and looks over at me with a goofy smile or when my daughter holds my hand and gives me three squeezes silently representing "I-Love-You."
There are no walls. I feel. Maybe it does make me weak, but maybe my vulnerability creates a strength that is harder to see.