Who’s in charge?

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All my life I’ve been blessed with a strong, healthy body: able to move easily, able to play piano or knit for hours on end. In fact, I’ve always felt in control of my body, expecting it to obey my commands to do what I want, when I want.

Recently, a bout of tendonitis in my right elbow has thrown that assumption out the window. Advil, a heating pad and ice have offered temporary relief, but knitting for even half an hour causes the ache and tingling to return. And so, while I wait to see the doctor, this episode has given me pause to reflect. The sobering conclusion? My body is in charge, not me. My body is telling me, in its own exquisite and precise language, to pay attention to what it needs, not what I want. It’s telling me to adjust my pace, to slow down. If I listen carefully, it’s also hinting at a future which will demand letting go. This minor curtailing of control is a relatively easy lesson, compared to what lies ahead in the years to come.

At first, I listen truculently. But then I come across a poem by May Sarton, which shakes me out of my resentment. I realize that now is the time to appreciate even more this human body of mine, this treasured home, this dear and aging friend.

Friend or enemy

I can look
At my body
As an old friend
Who needs my help,
Or an enemy
Who frustrates me
In every way
With its frailty
And inability to cope.
Old friend,
I shall try
To be of comfort to you
To the end.

~ May Sarton

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay


  1. janice

    December 1, 2019

    Such wisdom, my dear and aging friend! I too am learning that my body is in charge, that I must listen and slow down at times. Poetry often helps 🙂 xoxoxxo

  2. Pat

    April 4, 2020

    Oh I remember Mom’s stunningly beautiful knitting and her sadness as she had to give in to her ever changing body, I think she was in her late 80’s. I hope you are healing well and know that you have lots of art left to knit and music still to play. xoxo

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