I was flat on my back struggling to remember how to make my lungs, that seemed to have temporarily gone on vacation, take in the air my mind was desperately in need of. The first thing I remember thinking was “What just happened?” because the it all happened so fast. Immediately after that when my eyes focused on the figures standing above me I registered the blond Gabriel and his group of athletic-looking friends behind him standing by their car that was clearly geared up for a day of trail riding. Being a single girl my thoughts (obviously) turned straight to wondering why these things only seem to happen to me in my life’s least glamorous moments. But after those quick questions ran through my head I heard the rumble of a motorcycle. My ears didn’t seem to be working completely right either, but I thought I heard a deep rough voice say something like “Did ya learn somethin’?”
Okay, let me back up a second. Firstly, happy February my friends!
Secondly, be warned that I may be getting all sappy and personal on you guys again today. You might remember me talking about an accident I had over the Summer on a 4-wheeler. Well, I won’t rehash all the details of the story but to sum it up I ended up with a broken wrist, another wrist that was sprained but hurt almost as badly, bruises pretty much everywhere, (I think I had some cracked ribs but my doctor decided not to x-ray them to see for sure. Partly because of the other injuries and partly because there’s not much they can do about broken ribs anyway). Oh, and a knee full of dirt and gravel that required 34 stitches! It was a few days before I could use my hands at all and weeks before I could even hardly walk unassisted.
And yes, that’s about what my knee looks like as of this moment. Not very pretty, but somehow I don’t really mind it so much. A few months ago, on a follow-up visit, my doctor said there will most likely be some scarring but it’s possible it could heal with very little sign of the injury, As strange as it may sound I was almost more disappointed to hear the chance of it healing with no scar than if it was guaranteed to leave a mark. Why? Well, because basically all of the other injuries from my accident over the summer are nearly healed and this is the last remaining piece of evidence to remind me of what I gained from the experience.
Does it sound a bit insane to be trying to take away a positive from something so negative? For me, it’s so easy to find myself looking to blame something or someone when there’s something terrible happening. I think it’s safe to say that regardless of what beliefs we may have, all of us as humans have this innate since of fairness in life that’s deeply challenged when we’re going through tough times. I struggled with it then and I struggled with it just recently with a loved one going through something much worse. I don’t have all the answers but I do find that seeing the good in the bad can help. I love the quote “You can either let pain make you bitter, or let it make you better”.
So back to what I started off with. Right after I’d crashed, my father, my sister, and a friend of mine were all at my side trying to assess what to do, and yes there happened to also be some young men driving by who stopped and kindly offered help. Thankfully they pulled the 4-wheeler out of the ditch for us because I don’t know if we would have been able to so easily. That’s when this middle-aged, tattooed, gruff-looking, biker dude pulled up and made that very careless remark before driving off without a moment’s hesitation or offer to help. To quote my father, he afterwards said something along the lines of “If I wasn’t so worried about my gasping daughter I’d have found it very hard not to punch the guy right in the face!” As it turns out though, despite the complete rudeness of said biker dude, I did in fact “learn somethin’.”
I learned quite a few things over the Summer while trying to recover.
1. I learned to appreciate my body for everything it is rather than hate it for what it isn’t.
What an amazing thing it is to have legs that work. That can take us where we need to go and run, and jump, and bend. To have arms and hands that can lift things and create art and hold babies. In the past my relationship with health and fitness has been less than perfect. In fact, for years I thought I could punish my body into being what I thought it should be and I’ve gone through times when I’ve definitely not treated it with respect. I used to think of fitness as something really hard that I had to do. Now I can’t believe how much I’ve learned to truly enjoy it and crave activity for how good it makes me feel when I’m not trying to kill myself with it. Yoga has been amazing at helping my wrists heal and going to the gym is currently something I’m actually finding I look forward to.
2. I learned to take help from people
If you ask anyone who knows me you’ll know this is not my strong suit. I’m pretty stubborn in my self-sufficient, control-freak personality but when I was injured I literally couldn’t even feed myself the first few days. I had to be spoon fed by my mom like I was a toddler again. I know, the humiliation! I also couldn’t shower myself or even put clothes on. I had to learn to sit back and realize it’s a good thing to let others take care of you sometimes. Not only is it good for you and a great lesson in building relationships, but it’s a boost for the person helping you also. I’m not gonna lie, this lesson probably didn’t completely stick in my memory like it should have, but it’s there.
3. I learned some serious patience.
Boy, did those weeks of Summer seen endless as I sat in that stupid recliner and watched my siblings running in and out to do their different activities. I felt like it would never heal. That’s another thing I’m terrible at, sitting still. I really dislike ling car rides for this same reason, and it’s not a short attention span, I just really like, no need, to be doing things all the time or I go crazy. I thrive on productivity and being busy so not having much to do was like torture.
4. I learned that rest and healing are important
Isn’t it strange how something can seem like the worst thing ever in one moment and then be forgotten in the next. I mean, I remember that the combination of injuries hurt. Undoubtedly, they hurt more than any pain I’ve ever experienced, yet now looking back I can hardly remember it. Our memory of pain is so temporary yet the healing process is so important. Now that I can workout again I have to remind myself that I still need to allow time for resting. For some of the same reasons it’s necessary to let people help you, even when you want to do it all yourself, it’s also important to let your body rest and recover, even when you want to be all go go go. Not just from an injury, but also from sports and activity.
5. I learned that it’s okay to eat even if you can’t exercise
I used to think if I wasn’t active all the time I’d magically wake up the next day and be like one of the people at the end of the Pixar movie Wall-E in their floating chairs. I’d honestly stress out about this so much and at times through my teens when I couldn’t exercise I would just skip meals to try to make up for what I saw as a horrible thing. Of course this past Summer I couldn’t be active while my arms and legs were all jacked up, but knowing this, at first, had me super anxious. I also worried that I might resort back to some very unhealthy old habits but after realizing how much I wanted to heal, as quickly as possible, I finally started to understand that I had to fuel my body in order for it to be able to do that. Be active, but don’t feel the need to punish your body if you can’t always be. There’s a time for everything.
So yeah, that’s my super long Thursday Thoughts post. A favorite song of mine starts off with the line “There’s beauty in my brokenness”. That line was something that I played through my head over and over this past Summer. Life sucks sometimes, that’s just a fact, but we don’t have to let it define us. I have no doubt that you’ve gone through some rough things and I’d love to know what you were able to take away from them. What’s the best things you’ve ever gotten out of a painful or bad situation?