In the last week I have had x-rays, an MRI and my first cortisone shot. I have seen an orthopedic doctor, orthopedic surgeon and a physical therapist. I have become the proud owner of a large leg brace, crutches and more sore muscles than I knew were possible. Physical therapy, surgery and a recovery that will take 3 months have been added to my calendar. Total process from injury to recovery will be 4 months – an unexpected one-third of my year.
All this because I took a wrong step, tore completely through my meniscus and shredded the area under my knee cap. How I wish it was a better story when people ask me I how I did it. Competing in a kick boxing tournament or chasing a purse snatcher would certainly be less embarrassing and make a more interesting answer than taking a wrong step. Turns out there are lots of ways to take a wrong step aside from the physical one that caused the injury.
My first wrong step was to sink pretty fast and pretty deep into “poor me.” I am a comfort girl and I did not appreciate the pain, how hard it was to do the most basic of tasks, and how uncomfortable I was especially at night. I was angry and frustrated with the sudden change to my carefully organized and arranged life. It set me in to a tail spin as I tried to clear my calendar and accept my new circumstances. I was completely overwhelmed as I tried to understand what being sidelined would look like. I couldn’t even figure out how to get in to our house where each entrance has lots of steps. Let alone get my head around an upcoming trip to Hawaii that I had earned and would now be taking on crutches and with a wheel chair.
Second wrong step? Letting myself be overcome by fear. I suddenly found myself with too much time on my hands to think. And to worry. What if I injure the healthy leg that is compensating for the injured one? What if I fall when no one is around and I can’t get up? What if the surgery does not go well and I have chronic knee pain for the rest of my life? Now I know that fear is not from God but I felt a constant undertow of fear eating away at me. I was finding it hard to remember that “fear not” is repeated throughout scripture.
10 days into this adventure I am in a better place. The first 5 days were particularly hard. As I cried all over my husband one morning he told me two good and important things had already come from my injury. I wasn’t quite ready for this yet so he received a somewhat belligerent, “Oh really! Like what?” His reply . . . broke me . . . wide . . . open. “It is forcing you to slow down and take a break from your hectic schedule which you needed. And it is forcing us to quit passing each other and interact more which we needed.”
Did I mention that there are many ways to take a wrong step? My husband pointed out two big ones that had been taken months before the wrong step that damaged my knee. My schedule had been too packed for too long. Some really good opportunities had come my way over the last few years that I had felt called to and had said yes to without letting go of some previous commitments. And my husband and I? Definitely passing each other as his work travel increased and my commitments grew.
I do not know how long all of this would have gone on had I not injured my knee. I don’t know if God caused this to happen because I would not listen or if he allowed it to happen so it could be used for my good. The why doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I seek God earnestly in my circumstances, that I learn from past mistakes and that I take right steps moving forward.
Precious Father – Thank you for the injury that has forced me to slow down. Help me to use this time as a period of reflection and of connection with those around me. Thank you for a husband who speaks truth and holds me while I cry. May I see you more clearly in the hard stuff than I ever saw you in the easy. Amen