I was looking down at my book when Big E started whimpering from the pool. Within seconds he was full out crying. My eyes shot up and I saw him standing on the steps at the edge of the pool, tears streaming down his face. I stood up and he came running towards me, dripping and cold, throwing his arms around me.
“What’s wrong? What happened?” I asked as he continued to weep, drenching my clothes and dripping on my book. He couldn’t answer. C walked up behind him and I asked her, but she couldn’t answer either.
When he started to regain his composure, Big E told me that he had scraped his foot on the side of the pool as he was jumping in. He hobbled over to a lounge chair and sat down. Sure enough there were multiple scrapes along his toes, and his one toe nail looked damaged. As he noticed the blood coming from his cuts he began to scream even louder.
I grabbed his towel and wrapped his foot in it to stop the bleeding. Within a minute the bleeding had stopped, but the pain had not. He squeezed my finger as each new wave hit him until finally he started to calm down.
As C turned her attention back to the pool, and I began to read again, Big E propped himself in his chair and looked around. I glanced at him over my pages and watched him wince. He’d check his toes. He’d talk to me. He’d sit in silence.
After awhile he started to get bored. I told him he could get back in the water and he looked shocked. “But it will hurt!!’ he exclaimed. “Maybe,” was my reply. “And if it does, just get out again. It stopped bleeding awhile ago.”
Timidly he got off of his chair and dipped his toes in the water. He let out a squeal and hurried back to his retreat. “It hurts!!!”
“You know, if you don’t think about it, it won’t hurt so bad.”
He looked at me in amazement.
“If you don’t focus on your pain, you might not even notice it.” I watched him think this over. After a few moments he stood up and said, “I’m going to try again, but I’m not going to think about my toes.”
Sure enough, within three minutes he was splashing around the pool without a care in the world. No more complaints, only smiles and laughter.
That’s life isn’t it? It’s the choice we make daily. When we can’t take our eyes off the things that hurt us, they are the only things we can see. But if we look past them, choose to temporarily forget them, and live beyond them, they lose all the power they once held over us.