Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Big Toes & Pinky Fingers

So, I’m staring down a big birthday. 

A decade ago, I defied my  big birthday by competing in my first triathlon. Take that, 40! I had dreams for this one, too. A Marine Corp mud run, perhaps. Maybe enough strength training to wear a bikini for the first time since my teens.

Then, last November, came some bone removal and a plate with five screws in my right foot.
With a difficult recovery. Then, six months later (two weeks ago), more bone taken out. And now, a broken pinky finger. Maybe I shouldn’t have been bouncing a medicine ball off the gym wall, but I was holding out hope for a miraculous return to my old self by the end of summer.

Now, here I am, still unable to take a pain-free step and now unable to fold laundry or make the bed without yelping. Maybe I’ll just let those go for awhile...

If you haven’t experienced chronic pain before, let me tell you that it isn’t good. In fact, it’s pretty bad, especially for your mental health. So is not being able to get a cardio workout when you’ve become accustomed to pounding out your stress on the pavement. With friends who laugh and cry and pray with you while you run. It’s also incredibly frustrating to not be able to type with your left hand while trying to write a blog about said broken finger. I never knew how much I used my pinky until it hurt like #%^))&%@!

At the same time, it’s given me true understanding and appreciation of Paul’s words to the Corinthians: 

The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” 
The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 
In fact, it is just the opposite. 
The parts of the body that seem to be weaker 
are the ones we can’t do without...
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. 
If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy. 
1 Corinthians 12:21-22,26 NIRV 

I’ve experienced firsthand that when even a little piece of your body hurts, the rest of the entire body suffers. All of my muscles are atrophying because of my limited mobility. My fat cells are expanding in direct proportion. It takes me longer to go places and get things done. I’m easily frustrated/angered/saddened. Moisture seems to pour out of my eyeballs for no reason. (Okay, maybe parenting teenagers is part of the reason.)

When someone is hurting in your community, the whole group suffers. No matter how pretty the public face is, you can’t move forward in your God-given potential if you ignore the suffering of others. Or murmur against your leaders. It will take longer to reach your goals if some of you are limping. Your whole team or congregation will become slothful, unable to be productively proactive and no longer nimble enough to respond to needs and opportunities. 

So take care of yourself, because sometimes it is about you. And take care of others, because it’s never all about you. You matter because we matter, and we matter because you matter. Or, as my daughter’s Newsies cast would sing, “one for all and all for one!”

Now I’m going to go fold half a load of laundry - I’ll be back in a couple of hours...