Monday, October 11, 2010

The Bladder and the Soul

There's a funny correlation, I've noticed, between the stamina of my bladder and the strength of my soul. As a stay-at-home dad, I've had to master the intense desire to urinate more frequently than I ever thought possible.

In our little home on Lesley Avenue here in York, the bathroom is upstairs, at the top of a rather precarious staircase in which each step seems to have been built with the intention of developing a game to see how much of your foot you can get on the actual step itself.

Thus, when Tyler and I are downstairs playing with tractors, diggers, dump trucks, cement mixers, excavators, skid steers, tipper trucks, fuel trucks, big rigs, and other assorted vehicles within the larger TRUCK family, it gets pretty hard to run upstairs and urinate while he's playing. After all, there are a whole host of dangerous things he could get into downstairs in the few minutes it would take me to relieve myself.

For instance, he might climb up on the armrest of the sofa chair (as he did the other day, while I scooted into the kitchen to wash our breakfast bowls) and try to climb up onto the indoor window ledge (he had almost made it when I lunged to get him back to safety).

So, as we play with the variety of trucks, I continually tell my bladder the following:

"Bladder, you've got to hold on a bit more, okay buddy? You can do this. I know it's hard, but just take a deep breath, and relax and much as you can."

To which my bladder usually responds, "Are you kidding, Luke? I mean, seriously, are you kidding me? How am I supposed to take a deep breath and stay calm? I wasn't built for those things!"

To which I reply, "But you can still do it. I know you can. I believe in you. I believe in you, Bladder!"

Meanwhile, the trucks rumble with Tyler's voice-overs, and my bladder holds like the Hoover Dam.

It's only an hour later, when I am finally able to bring Tyler in with me, or put him down for a nap and I can urinate, that I realize something: learning self-discilpine in this regard is also teaching me how to believe that the pain of urgent desires pass.

The desire to get back the things we let go when we were in America is fading.

Slowly, we are learning how to live without a car, a drying machine, a microwave, and a television.

And during the withrawal--as we can still remember the ease of using those possessions, and I can easily recall the comfort of peeing as soon as I feel the subtle hint--I can feel my soul grow.

Little by little, bit by bit, the difficult journey of my bladder increases the stamina of my soul.