(Originally posted 7/8/2014)
48 Hours In (Part II of my musings)
I do not think that I have the corner market on injury or disability. Nor am I presuming to speak for everyone who is injured or ill or disabled. However, I see this season -fresh as it is – as an opportunity to understand the challenges that I am facing and consider how they might be for those who bear them more than I do. These are some things that I am learning after 48 hours of being temporarily and somewhat disabled.
1) Everything makes a difference: desk chair height, keyboard placement, location of the extra hand soap. EVERYTHING! The love of God in us can lead us to be considerate of others, even to the placement of toilet paper or table salt.
2) Injury is lonely. I could complain…all day. Partially because I am surprised and still getting used to this new (if temporary) reality. Many times we complain because we are surprised, afraid and lonely and we want others to know where we are, and to join us. The phrase is “misery loves company” but I think it should more accurately be: “misery needs company to heal.” Jesus said Luke 6:31 “…as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” and Job reminds us that “he who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” (Job 6:14)
3) Some of us are tired of this already. Everyone has their own reasons for it, but most of us have a small window of time and energy we give to listening to hurting people. My injury will probably be gone in a year. Some people have lifetime injuries, handicaps and illnesses. What if we gave people what they need instead of being annoyed when they try to ask for it: a listening ear. The Gospel frees us up to love people where they need to be loved because God has loved us where we needed to be loved, despite the cost to Jesus.
4) Purpose is Essential. I am so grateful that there was productive work I could do today. If I didn’t have Christ that I’m committed to, a church that I serve, and a family to love, I would spend a lot more time focused on the pain and frustration I have. Still, with everything taking more effort, it becomes very clear to me why I do what I do and what exactly I’m doing. In this season, I’m so much more grateful for people who serve despite their pain and difficulties. It is not easy, and it takes tremendous effort.
5) Caregivers are Every Day Heroes. WE can all be caregivers. Over the past 48 hrs, my wife has given of her time and energy in huge ways. She thinks ahead for me and thinks of things I don’t think of. I’m grateful for her sacrifice and I’m so much more aware that we don’t have to look far to find people in need of a care-giving ministry. It doesn’t mean we all become nurses or part-time volunteers, but what if there were 5 hrs a year we each gave to helping hurting people in our community. It’s a start! And the needs are many.
6) Other things hurt. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. About the 30hr mark, my other knee started hurting. Then, my back. Then my knee on the injured side. It makes sense, but it is awkward. Sometimes, people who hurt have other hurts as a result of their bodies compensating for the extra energy put in to nurse the wound. Maybe that other site is another joint or muscle. Sometimes the other site is a sick heart, an unstable mind, depression or worse. Lets bear with those who carry heavy burdens; sometimes, the burdens have unexpected, negative consequences.
7) There is humor in unexpected places. Monday, it was go-time. I was going, diligently, about my business. Well, I *crutched* around the house today for 5 minutes, before noticing that I had my son’s flipflop stuck through the end of the crutch. Nuff said.