I actually wrote this post last Sunday, Oct. 21. I don’t know why it didn’t go live automatically. Silly WordPress.
Since I wrote it, I’m doing much better, both physically and emotionally. Thanks for asking. 🙂
It’s interesting how throwing one unexpected and unfortunate event into an established routine can show you the worst of yourself. The event that entered into mine yesterday has thus far shown me the following.
1. I am a friggin’ baby.
2. I am stubborn.
3. I am self-absorbed.
4. I hate to feel stuck.
It has also reminded me what a control freak I am–but I knew that part already.
So what happened?
We have a very old dog who recently went blind due to his age, which means we frequently have to carry him up and down the two flights of stairs that comprise our three-level townhome. Yesterday, I picked him up to carry him down from the 3rd floor to the second (or main) floor, and missed the last step, twisting my foot terribly as I arrived at the bottom. I do not remember what I did with the dog in my arms, except that he was unhurt–so I must have managed to set him down before bellowing and writhing like a huge baby on the floor.
In my defense, I am not accident prone. The only other limb injuries I’ve sustained in my life have been a broken finger and a couple of broken toes. Never have I sprained or broken a major limb, so I didn’t know what it felt like or how to react–or how one is *supposed* to react. All I can say is that the moment it happened, my mind immediately began racing about all the things I have on my schedule, and how much of it was going to be interrupted by this. Never mind the intense pain I was currently feeling–I was more concerned with being stopped than the injury itself.
It could have been a lot worse. My foot swelled up badly, and I can still barely hold weight on it, but it does not appear to be a serious injury. Unlike me, The Wild One is intimately familiar with foot injuries, and she knew what to do. After a day of icing and elevating the foot, the swelling has gone down (somewhat) and I am not in serious pain. I just can’t get around very much. And that is annoying the crap out of me.
Every morning I wake up early and go to the coffee shop to write. Every morning. It is my comfort-zone routine. This morning, I’m writing this from my living room, feet elevated on a pillow on the coffee table. No coffee in the house, because I’m basically the only one who drinks it (and even then, it has to be done my “special” way by the coffee shop baristas). My routine has been totally disrupted, which is immediately showing me how dependent I have become on that routine.
Never mind that I was spared the pain and expense of a major injury, which this very well could have been. Never mind that we aren’t burying our dog today because I dropped or crushed him. Never mind that today is The Wild One’s birthday, and our planned trip to the museum to see the new Van Gogh exhibit is cancelled because I can’t walk, and she has to spend her day doing stuff for me that I can’t do myself. I am stuck. I can’t friggin’ get to the coffee shop and get my coffee, and that is pissing me off.
Like I said, it’s funny how one routine-disrupting event can show you the worst of yourself. Maybe it’s a blessing that I am self-aware, but it was like I can stand to the side and watch myself act like a spoiled brat idiot over a relatively mild injury. It’s not pretty.
But at the same time, I understand enough about the process of inner healing to know that frequently our knee-jerk reactions are pointing to something else in our soul. The reality was that I was not being completely self-absorbed and shallow (otherwise, I wouldn’t have even been able to see how badly I was acting). The reality was I felt scared, vulnerable. One of the reasons I love my routine is that it is mine. It’s my way of feeling a little bit in control of my world, and it makes me feel safe. The fact that this happened to me not only robbed me of a sense of control, but it also reminded me that I’m not as in control as I believe myself to be. Things happen. That’s a scary thought for a control freak, because if one (sort of) bad thing can happen, what can stop another bad thing from happening, and another?
Of course, this is where faith comes in–trusting God with the parts of our lives we can’t control, and trusting Him to give us grace to handle what comes. It’s been the tug-of-war of my entire faith journey, learning to let God handle things instead of insisting on controlling them myself. If there’s anything redemptive about this, it’s that it showed me how reliant I have become on my routine, and how it really isn’t something to trust in. I can be mad that I’m laid up, or I can acknowledge God’s protection in that it could have been far worse–and be thankful to Him for using this event to show me the futility of my imagined comfort zones.
So for now, the “path to healing” I’ve been talking about has suddenly become very tangible. For now, I have to find new ways of doing basic things, and look for ways to celebrate The Wild One’s birthday that don’t involve a lot of walking, and be willing to let go of the stuff I can’t control. Because I never was in control of it to begin with.