I love walking, like, so much. I don’t deal with traffic when I walk. I know exactly how long it’ll take me to get everywhere, and I love the feeling of my legs making the long strides to get me where I need to be. I LOVE stopping and looking at beautiful stuff along the way, and the conversations I get to have with the people I’m walking with.
Now… If walks have a purpose, then my boys find them ok too, but purposeless wanderings? Plain old walks that are purely for exercise, where we breathe in nature smells and hear mom point out things she’s excited about, like birds, trees, or flowers? No thanks.
“I like walks that lead me to a donut,” he said.
Well, imagine my surprise when I woke up a few weeks back and my good old legs had simply stopped working like they were supposed to. They felt heavy, tingly, slow, and weak. And my knees… oh my goodness. They only liked being stretched straight out before me like a serving tray. For the first time, it hurt so much to walk.
“So we don’t have to go on a walk today?” He said hopefully.
PART ONE of this story is that I foolishly walked down part of a mountain in poorly fitting running shoes. It’s also the part where I realized that I’m no longer 25, and that the bounce in my step ain’t what it used to be. And that a ten-minute decision can drastically affect the days ahead. (Isn’t that a life lesson?)
PART TWO is where I found myself awkwardly hobbling into a physiotherapist’s office. (That’s a place where ordinary people, active people, or people who make foolish choices, apparently find themselves now.) I had never darkened the door until a week ago. I was too busy taking for granted the fact that MY LEGS WORKED WHEN I EXPECTED THEM TO.
Did you know that if you turn 100 years old in Canada, you can request a letter of congratulations from the Queen of England? My kids talk about it all the time, wondering if she’s gearing up to send a letter to herself in a few more years here…
But it got me thinking that maybe there should also be a letter that goes out to people around the age of 40 that reads like this:
To whom it may concern:
The body that you were used to for all of the years before this will now swiftly be failing you, but only sometimes, and only when you least expect it.
All of those activities you once participated in with ease will possibly be things that cause you great pain – PLEASE proactively travel everywhere with tension bands and a foam roller in your properly fitted backpack.
Also, enjoy your new footwear, flats and heels are out, and running shoes with arch support will now go with every outfit. (Looking like a realtor ‘who is ready for a spontaneous jog to break out’ is the new you.)
Lastly, sneezing, and bending over without bracing yourself to pick up anything, might be highly risky. Please only do these activities with great caution.
P.S. Please expect 4-8 weeks for all recoveries.
To everyone in the appropriate age bracket who needed to read that, you’re welcome. I drafted it in between applications of Tiger Balm and ice packs. Be grateful you’re not breathing that in right now.
My physiotherapist, bless his heart, said that I should avoid all stairs if I want to heal. But the irony, my friends, is that at the end of May we moved a few kilometers out of the city to a tiny townhouse community.
Once you get up the stairs to our front door, you will be greeted by seven steps leading you from the kitchen to the living room. Seven more steps will get you to my bedroom and a bathroom. And seven more will finally let you arrive at the bedrooms of my children. And I’m not even joking, seven more after that will finally get you to the rooftop deck. Sometimes life is so funny you must just choose to laugh.
Over the past week, I’ve been working on perfecting what I’ll now refer to as, “The Downstairs Slide.” And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It looks ridiculous, but it’s efficient. And I literally just did a round of it to stop my son from repeatedly singing, “I’m a gummy bear” at the top of his lungs in the courtyard. Just an FYI: Parenting never stops even if your legs temporarily do.
But, as the good Lord would have it, of course, this past month, before all this nonsense, I was busy reading two books: Unexpected (by Christine Caine) and Undistracted (by Bob Goff). I guess that means I was fully prepared – to roll with whatever may come my way while staying focussed on what matters in life. (Sidenote: I apparently like all of my book titles to begin with un-words.)
I can’t keep looking at my circumstances, or focussing on the pain I may find myself in, or the trouble surrounding me. My job is to keep my eyes diligently on the pages of my Bible, to have worship in my heart, and plenty of gratitude coming out of my mouth. All the while remembering that God always walks me THROUGH all of the things.
Can I just encourage you today, that if you’re going through a ‘thing’ too, which some of you probably are, because YOU ARE people… Hold on to faith. Fully believe that if you call out to God, He will see you through. He will give you the strength, resources, endurance, and creativity that you need. Can we learn to greet the difficult things in life with hopeful determination?
PART THREE is my realization that all of the things we encounter in life can either frustrate us or grow us. And although it still takes me longer than I’d like to always circle back to this realization when difficulties slap me in the face, I do know that I want to have a strong, hopeful, determined character that isn’t blown about when they do.
“Do you know why I love believing in Jesus?” I asked my boys the other night.
My youngest methodicaly snapped his fingers while waiting for my response.
“I don’t know how I would walk through (or NOT walk through, Ha!) any of the things I’ve had to go through, without Him going with me. When I have given Him my fears and worries, He has given me peace. When I’ve given Him my disappointment and troubles, He’s given me courage and faith. Without Him in my life, I’d have to hold onto all of that, and yeesh, I’d never want to do that…”
I’ve realized this: we can use any and every situation to help teach our kids more about God. And as a mom, EVERY challenge is an opportunity to show my kids how to deal with difficult things in life. To show them that sometimes, we learn the best things through the hardest of stuff.