I twisted my ankle on the evening of June 25, 2018. On June 26th, my birthday, I was informed it was broken, put in a temporary cast, and handed a pair of crutches. (Add moving around on crutches to my description of Hell.)
On June 27th, I visited my foot doctor and got the temporary cast removed in exchange for a boot, much more tolerable. Next stop was to pick up a knee scooter, the best thing ever invented for staying off your foot, ankle, and leg to comply with your doctor’s “no weight-bearing for four to six weeks” instructions. I settled in for a long summer’s rest.
In early August, we determined that the ankle did not heal well after six-weeks, so surgery followed on August 15, the day after our wedding anniversary.
My housebound scooting life was extended for another five weeks non-weight bearing to heal. I elevated my foot above my head, as directed, for weeks.
And heal I did! [Insert applause and cheers.] I advanced to walking with a walker on September 19, 2018. I was able to retire the walker twelve days later.
On October 1, 2018, I took my first steps on my own. As I write, I’m still in a boot and walking is challenging, but progress is mine! This has been a long journey with many ups and downs.
I have a short list of lessons learned to share with you. I think the list applies to most struggles, so perhaps you will relate to it. Perhaps it will help us find courage together when hard days come. For those of you who express your spirituality differently than I do, thank you for accepting my references to God and my connection to him in this post.
- Work toward a healthier weight through healthy eating. When you depend on your upper body to support you in times like this, extra pounds make that harder.
- Work toward physical strength, flexibility, and endurance. Take good care of your body so you are better equipped in physical struggles.
- Focus on the present and what’s true. When times are hard, it is easy to be negative and fill with fear. Counteract that by staying in the moment and thinking through what is true, shutting down discouraging “what if…” thoughts.
- Enjoy the fact that God is with you and goes before you. He loves you.
- Priorities can include slow living, developing your gifts, investing in your passions while you are sidelined. Be creative in doing that. Enjoy good people, good moments, good movies, and good meals.
- Time with people you love is life-giving. Be grateful for the time you have to visit while you wait to rejoin the hectic life you knew before.
- Togetherness with friends and family in your home is meaningful and rich. They do not care what you look like, nor how the house is not as clean as you’d like. Get over it and enjoy the company.
- Busy is often a choice that short circuits peace.
- Guard against personal idols – things you counted on for happiness that do not keep that promise in hard circumstances.
- Be grateful that God meets our needs, even when so much of normal life or how you had it pictured gets stripped away. You still have what you need in the moment, though you may not recognize it until later.
- Clutter around the house is a burden when you are limited physically. Clear it out to make moving around the house, reaching what you need, and enjoying your space easier. Having less to take care of when you can’t get around, or even in good health, is a benefit, too.
- Combat fear and the desire to control or it will eat you alive.
- Watch fear in medical situations dissipate with trusting God in new ways, and having friends or family accompany you to appointments and procedures.
- Waiting is an easy difficult practice of high value. Learn to do it well.
- Results are often beyond our control, as is timing. Watch for God’s intimate involvement in both, and just do the very next thing you have to do. Don’t think ahead.
- Friendship is wealth to the soul. Connection with a local church brings support in ways that melt the scared heart. A hard-working husband and best friend is an amazing gift, and such a loving, caring support in times of physical limits. Let people help and give you time to rest and recover. It’s good for everyone. Lose your desire to pay them back, and commit to helping others when you are able instead.
- Develop a living space that is one-level without steps to manage for times when your legs are not doing what they were designed to do.
- Slow mornings are a luxury. If you can rest comfortably, don’t wish that away.
- If you are comfortable, you will find time to do things you want to do, but never had the time to sit still long enough to do them. Embrace that, but understand that healing sometimes demands all your creative energy, so be patient with yourself when you feel too depleted to be creative with projects and interests.
- A lovely view from your resting room is a gift to your soul. Bird feeders, flowers, plants, trees, the sky, if included in your view, are calming to the soul. The activity of birds and butterflies, moving clouds and the breeze, and noises in the neighborhood all help you realize you are not alone.
Stay charming, friends! In good days, and also, with special blessings, in rough seasons.