The little girls were playing in our backyard. Each was trying to teach the other a new trick. As I listened from the porch, I heard one say to the other anxiously, “Is it painful?”
I wasn’t sure the answer was honest. “No, it’s not painful. Come on. Just try it.” (If I had been doing the demonstrated trick it would undoubtedly have been quite painful!)
Thinking back on that little scenario, I smile to myself. If only you could face some of life’s tricks with that question: Is it painful? Realistically, we seldom have a chance to choose our path with that simple bit of knowledge. If I could have known on March 13 that I was going into a new trick and if I could have turned down the opportunity because it would be painful, then I guess I’d be a robot, a safe and whole robot, but a robot all the same. And that would not be my choice. But–I could wish I’d have been a tad more careful and “together” that morning.
Seven family members, all senior citizens, were staying in a cottage on Black Rock Mountain that weekend. We’d arrived in Clayton on Friday night, eaten at Ingles, and done our grocery shopping. The evening was spent telling tales, some old some new, taking in the view from the porch of Clayton laid out like a sparkly blanket among dark recesses of mountains, and falling into bed.
We always have such fun cooking together and this was no exception. We burst into giggles over the smallest thing, like someone’s shirt being backwards or some hungry person serving themselves two helpings of grits, one on each side of the plate. Breakfast over, we were bragging on grandchildren pictures, gazing at Clayton waking up in the valley below, asking Charlie one more time which mountain peak was which, and drinking a second cup of coffee.
I chose this time to pull out a knitting project I wanted Suzanne to help me with. I didn’t ask anyone, before I made the slight twist turning from a chair to the couch, if it would be painful. I lost my balance and landed hard on my right hip. Yes, it was very painful! But I thought it was simply a very bad bruise and, with help, hobbled around all weekend using a borrowed walker. On Sunday we made the seven hour trip home to Cairo. For some blessed reason, I slept most of the way.
I was shocked Monday morning at Grady General’s ER to learn that I had broken my hip just below the ball and would have to have surgery. Surgery was at TMH, Tallahassee, Tuesday afternoon thrusting me into pain that seared my brain, destroyed any prideful thoughts of self-sufficiency and made me cling in the middle of the nights to the words, “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14
Friends and family have been so supportive but none more so than Charles who has had to shorten his stride to hang back with my turtle steps.
Is it painful? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Pain is a very rigorous teacher. Would we want to give up the experience of new jobs, new relationships, new challenges because they are painful? Of course there are challenges, and there are greater challenges. I’m not about to sky dive as my nephew Eric loved to do or hike Pike’s Peak with Phillip. I will, with His great help, harness in to the challenges the Lord has given me.
Having crossed the river of pain (maybe the worst of it anyway!), I now can flex stronger muscles for the PT trainer, and ask for more ice packs. Instead of pain reliever induced panic attacks I can enjoy the sunshine outside glancing off mounds of colorful azaleas and chuckle at the cute get well cards sent by precious well wishers. I can even think about asking for my knitting. Maybe tomorrow.