Read part 1 first if you have the time! If you don’t, read the paragraph below to catch up.
“Two weeks ago I tweaked my back. It was some combination of trying to exercise like I was 20 years younger and getting in a car accident that totaled our van. Apparently, that was the one-two punch that sent me in a bit of a tailspin. Over the last two weeks, I’ve been to the chiropractor more than I’ve been to Panera and Starbucks combined. If you’re keeping track at home that’s a lot. I wanted to share with you what God has been teaching me during the sleepless nights and long stretches of discomfort.”
I’m not patient. I want a quick fix. I don’t want the long recovery process of stretching, resting, and repeating it all over again. I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to learn the lessons God wants to teach me. I want to get well. I want to run and exercise again. I want work around the house without feeling pain. I want to sleep through the night. I want it to stop and I wanted it to stop yesterday. I’m told I will fully heal in 6-8 weeks at the latest, but when I don’t feel progress I get frustrated. When I get frustrated I get angry. I’m no fun to be around me when I’m angry.
I’m not ready to come to grips with my own mortality. Let me be clear, I haven’t been given a death sentence. I have a bad back. I have some strained muscles in my hip. This is uncomfortable. It’s an inconvenience. It’s bothersome, but it’s not life threatening! This is small potatoes. That’s why it bothers me that it’s such big deal. It doesn’t just remind me about how fragile life can be, it reminds me about how fragile I can be. My dad recently told me, “Don’t worry, James. It gets worse as you get older!” We haven’t spoken since. This has reminded me that if my joy is wrapped up in an exercise program, fitness routine, or clean bill of health it will not end well for me. Father Time is undefeated. I won’t be the exception.
Sometimes you think you’re really making progress until you realize that you’re not making progress. There are moments when I think I’m growing spiritually. I’m getting a handle on life with God. My walk with God can even seem like it’s building to a jog. Usually that happens when life is going my way and things are playing out the way I planned. God and I are on good terms. It feels like I’m a kid coasting down a hill on is bike with his hands raised to the heavens. Then, unexpectedly, a car pulls out of the driveway. I’m scrambling to find my equilibrium. I realize that I’m not as spiritually mature as I thought I was. I find that my good days don’t reveal my heart as much as the bad ones do. Someone once told me that trials don’t build character, they reveal it. I’m learning that I don’t always like what I see. I’m asking God to help. I need it.
Melissa cares for me well even when I’m not easy to care for. “For better or worse” sounds easier when it’s just an idea and not reality. I readily admit I’m a pansy. That may cost me my man card, but so be it. It’s true. I make sounds when I go to the floor to stretch. I share how few hours I slept the day before. I readily admit, “I can’t do that right now.” I complain. In those moments when Melissa picks up my slack she does so gracefully. That’s a gift I’m grateful for at the moment. I hope if called upon, I would do the same for her.
If you’d like to follow my recovery process, just ask me. I don’t have a Caring Bridge page…yet. I thought that would be a little over the top.