26 Av 5781 / Wednesday, August 04, 2021 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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HomeInspirational StoriesEmuna StoriesThe Language of Lyme's Disease - Part 2
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The Language of Lyme's Disease - Part 2    

The Language of Lyme's Disease - Part 2

My worries were piling up: being physically disabled, being unable to continue my job as a trainer, or even death, I realized that the Lymes was nothing more than a message…



In Part One, I wrote about all the amazing changes and positive developments in my life as a result of getting Lyme. In this article, I want to focus on how amazed I was by Hashem's Divine and Perfect intervention in my life and in my disease and its manifestations!


When the Lyme started to affect my joints, it was like arthritis. On good days, certain joints would hurt to move under a great amount of stress. On my worst days, just moving the joint at all was extremely painful. At the apex of my conditions, I had three major joint areas that caused me the most discomfort. First and most prominent, both of my elbows hurt very badly when I opened or closed them. It got to the point where I could barely get through training sessions with clients but more notably, I had to take a two week break from working out.


Awhile back, in my article Who's Not Listening? I wrote about how messages from Hashem through my children had helped me realize that I needed to change my workouts. I love working out, but my ego loves it even more. It's a chance to grab people's attention, admiration, and respect. Torah values say I should take care of my body so I can do Hashem's will. Do I need to do a 400lb deadlift? Do I need to be able to do a muscle-up? The short answer is no. But my ego kept convincing me to pursue these goals in the guise of, “It's important to have goals.” Really, my ego's goal was to receive admiration and respect from the other trainers and people at the gym. “Wow, Pinney, great lift!” “You're in great shape!” Or my favorite fantasy, “Please tell me what I can do to get YOUR results.” I was at the point where Hashem had made it very clear that I should stay away from this ego-driven behavior but I couldn't stop. With both elbows killing me, that forced me to stop working out and start thinking even more seriously about my motivations when working out.


The second area to be greatly affected was the left side of my jaw. On a good day, it hurt to crunch on a tortilla chip, on a bad day, it hurt to mush thru a banana. On Shabbat especially, my yetzer (Evil Inclination) kept using food to distract me from what I should be doing. The meal would be going on, people having conversations. They weren't talking about what I wanted to talk about and I wasn't interested in their discussions. When the urge came to put more food on my plate, I could've asked Hashem, “What do You want me to do now? Clear the table? Play with the kids? Go pick up a sefer (book) and learn? Listen in on the conversations and give others my attention?” No, I didn't do that. Instead I'd go fill up my plate or dessert plate to pass the time. Needless to say, my belt wasn't too happy after Shabbat. Eating in pain from my jaw made it clear that Hashem wanted me to work harder on myself in this area. I need to start working with Him via prayer on being present and helpful at the Shabbat table.


Third, I have gotten a little addicted to my phone. I have a hard time not pulling it out when I need to be present. Like many Americans, I struggle not to be on it when I'm driving my car. I also would pull it out during clients' sessions during a boring moment. (Checking it for anything other than something related to their needs, is stealing the attention and time they're paying me for as a trainer.) I struggle not to pull my phone out when I'm with my kids as a way to while away the time. (I should be trying to give them my full attention.) That left shoulder I mentioned that hurt, guess what action made it hurt the most? The action of reaching into my left pants pocket to pull out my phone! Hashem, in His ultimate loving kindness was telling me to leave my smartphone in my pocket. It was definitely easier being off of it when my shoulder was killing me that's for sure.


So where am I now? At the time of this writing, the Lyme has been gone for about three months. With Hashem's help, I have made big changes to my workouts. I've really cut down on the overall amount I spend in the gym and have increased my prayer time. I'm really trying to stick to higher repetition and cross-training to keep my heart and lungs fit while keeping me strong enough to take care of all things Hashem needs me to do: Take care of my family, pick up and play with my kids, load and unload our car, build a Succah, etc. I've become more conscientious of being on my phone with my clients and when I'm with my kids, although when my wife's there too, I often slip into old habits. The eating has still been the trickiest. I'll have one or two decent eating Shabbats and then I'll just go overboard one Shabbat lunch again with too much Challah, dessert, and everything in between. But I'm grateful for the progress I've made.


I wouldn't have been as aware or even trying to work on improving in these areas if it wasn't for the pain Hashem caused me through the Lyme. Although I still can't stand pain and instinctively try to escape from it, I recognize that it's really the pain that helps me grow the most. And so I find it easier sometimes to thank Him even for the pain.

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