What do you do when you realize the hard stuff is going to take longer than expected before it gets easier? What do you do when a door opens and then suddenly slams in your face? What do you do when you receive news that drops your belly to the floor and you can’t quite get it back in position? Maybe it is a health crisis, or a loss of a job, or a broken relationship. Maybe a coveted promotion you didn’t get, or a dream house you didn’t buy or a man who didn’t love you back.
The “hard stuff” is different things to different people depending on who you are, where you come from, and what you have experienced. Right now my hard stuff is this knee injury. It is realizing that 6 weeks in to this I am not even half way through the crutches, the brace, the wheelchair, the physical therapy and the healing process.
I had my post op with the surgeon last week who looked at a very small part of the big picture – the incisions from his surgery – and pronounced it good. He informed me I would no longer have to wear my pressure bandage from my toes to my hip and no longer have to change the sterile dressing on a daily basis. Which is all good and all true. He told me I could unlock the brace to drive short distances and start taking showers. I can’t even tell you the feeling those words gave me! I saw the door swing wide open to freedom, flexibility, more control and regular showers.
Then I went to the physical therapist.
Because of my height and the way that my monster brace fits me I was informed that I can not do stairs or get the brace into a position where I can drive. Which means I am still housebound and can not take showers due to the layout of our house. Technically, I leave the house twice a week for physical therapy but it is a long and arduous process that takes two hours for a one hour appointment and leaves me exhausted. (From the process – not the physical therapy).
Both the surgeon and the physical therapist told me I still had to wear the brace 24/7 and keep my leg elevated for at least the entire 4 weeks following surgery. The key phrase here is at least. Turns out it may be needed longer than 4 weeks. In fact the protocol sheet I was given today for a meniscal repair shows the brace discontinued between 6-12 weeks following surgery.
Now I know everyone heals differently and that all of this is just guess work. But to see the door flung open to more freedom, flexibility, and control and then have it suddenly slam in my face has been one of the hardest parts of this entire process. I got home from those appointments so discouraged and cried off and on for the rest of the day.
Which brings me back to my opening question – “What do you do when?” According to Romans 12:12 we are called to: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Three important and difficult things that I am unable to do in my own power. Thank God joy is not dependent on circumstances, like happiness, but rather on what Christ has done for me. My NIV study notes describes “patient in affliction” as enduring triumphantly through the inevitable experience of affliction. And faithful in prayer means communication with God at all times.
Precious Father, you have told us that in this world there will be trouble. But you have also told us to take heart because you have overcome the world. Thank you Lord Jesus! May we strive to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Amen.