Monday, June 28, 2010

On the Shelf, Part X: “Ice Ice Baby”

June 27, 2010

“If there’s a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.”
-Vanilla Ice

All the well-intentioned vanilla platitudes from friends and family haven’t cleared the air of despair choking the hope that I’ll play hockey again. More problematic than my doubt and lack of gratitude is my greatest fear: That I’ll lose my purpose in life.

I know that the hockey gods/The Force/The Great Pumpkin/Whatever You Want to Call Him, Her, It or Them, want me to enjoy life while I serve others as best I can, but I haven’t felt that way for much of the last eight weeks—since the surgery to repair what the surgeon called “a very large hole” in my groin.

So far, I’m two weeks behind the twelve-week recovery/physical therapy plan, and sometimes I feel like I’m losing ground. I guess I’m a slow learner and a slow healer. I’ve also allowed my unpredictable physical state to permeate my soul. And I’ve been feeling bad that I feel bad because I’m well aware that others endure catastrophes with more grace than I’ve exhibited during this temporary setback.

But the hockey gods work in mysterious and musical ways for me: I’m laying down, back on the purple couch in my Zen room, listening to a CD my wife mixed for me. The Force nudges my spirit awake as I listen to “Live Now” (Paul Brandt). My fingers then dance along to “Suerte” (Jason Mraz with Ximena Sariñana), and then, to “Good Vibrations” (Glee Cast Version). I think of all the people who are pulling for me: my wife, my hockey pals, and friends outside hockey circles. The Great Presence is transforming my knowledge into a more solid belief.

As the Glee cast sings Mr. Ice’s classic, I picture my little brother during his recent visit to Boston: He’s in the back seat of the car and rapping to the same song I’m listening to now. He surprises my wife and me with his knowledge of the lyrics, softly hip-hopping along—and then pumping up the volume, “Beachfront Avenue!”

Five hours later, I’ve listened to "Ice Ice Baby" again. I’ve decided to keep putting one front in front of the other. I’ll continue to ice ice after physical therapy and, as my brother told me not long after his 80s flashback: Forget faith and hope and expectation for a moment and just accept where I am now.

Word to my brother (and all of my supporters): Thanks. I love you.
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