I have terrible feet. Terrible in the, they are an odd size so shoes don’t fit me, sense. They are long (I am tall) they are extra narrow (also inherited, thank you ancestors) and they are low volume (meaning they don’t take up a lot of room in a shoe.) There are very few shoes that fit me well. Even my best fitting shoes are a mess of insoles, inserts and extra thick socks.
I know a lot about shoes, boots, socks and feet because we are a hiking family. We do lots of hiking: day hikes, weekend backpacking trips, and vacation mountain climbing. What this means for me is blisters. Lots of them. I’m pretty handy with blister repair kits, moleskin, bandaids and duct tape but still there’s no escaping a handful of good blisters per hike.
I can feel blisters coming on and I’ve learned that it’s better to walk through them if there’s nothing much I can do about them and I have somewhere I have to get to, which I usually do. Walking with blisters is painful but the constant low-grade pain recedes into the background and I can still enjoy the moment.
Stopping, making the pain go away and starting to hike again is pure agony. For awhile anyway.
Through this experience and others I’ve come to the conclusion that pain can be relative.
Sometimes we are in pain but don’t realize how bad it is until the pain goes away. Everyday we plod along not realizing how oppressive things are and not realizing how good things can be either. This is true for all types of pain not just physical pain.
Budgets tighten, we do more with less, we have ideas but we don’t have the time or money to try them and so we do the same things. We are living in a cocoon of low-level misery. We know that things are not great but we do not know how bad things have become for ourselves, for staff and for members.
When we are in it, it is hard to see that we are in it.
We are pulled to keep on keeping on. Perhaps the best first step is to stop and feel the pain. Identify the symptoms and then focus in on the cause.
A tight budget is a symptom. A declining membership is a symptom. What is the cause?