Then they showed me a world where I could be so dependable
The Retune Blog - 10th November 2023
Last Sunday morning I slipped over on the pavement. If you’re anything like me, when you fall over in public the first thing I think we all feel is that sense of embarrassment, followed in a close second by the physical pain!
Early Monday morning I was still contemplating whether I was going to go to the hospital for a scan, or go about the week I had planned, working with Year 6’s in Kirby in relation to gangs. Eventually I decided to go to A&E and get an x-ray. Turned out I had sprained my ankle. So, I’ve spent the week at home instead of going about my plan for the week.
But what interests me about all this, is why I even had to contemplate if I was going to drive 45 minutes each way every day for work when I could barely hobble to the kitchen. Why did it take a medical practitioner to tell me I needed a couple of days of not being on my feet all day when I could feel that myself? Why did I find myself not wanting to accept that I simply couldn’t do something?
But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible. Logical, oh, responsible, practical. Then they showed me a world where I could be so dependable. Oh, clinical, oh, intellectual, cynical.
When I hear this lyric I’m struck by the intended ironic double nature of its meaning. As humans we often pride ourselves on our ability to be logical in our approach to life. At the same time, we often want to be reliable. Most of the time, these qualities work together, but it’s not a given. And not only are they not necessarily qualities which compliment and work together, but there is also a deeper question of what they work toward. Perhaps the song answers this:
We'd like to feel you're acceptable, respectable, oh, presentable.
For me, this week, the logical part of me knew it was unrealistic to think I was going to spend 90 minutes driving each day and then the rest of my day on my feet in classrooms. I also knew logically that I could simply rearrange the work to another week. However, the part of me that wanted to be dependable and reliable didn’t want to accept that. It was like there was part of me arguing that I was letting myself and others down if I didn’t just get on with it.
In the end, I rearranged my week. It was the right decision. But how much easier would it be if I could have got there without it even being a question in the first place. Perhaps what’s missing from the social emphasis on reliability and logic, is the more human necessity for grace and self-compassion.