My place in this world

Today was a truly magnificent day.

After the pleasantries of church, seeing family, and having a wonderful home-cooked meal, I was able to enjoy a quiet walk with Flora all the way down to the pond and back in the fading sunshine.

The walk was a feast for the senses. The dry, matted down turf was springy under my slippers and crutches. The light breeze rustled through the few remaining blades of last years’ tall grasses and the creek ran swift and clear underneath the footbridge. The scent of spring tickled my nose as Flora excitedly snuffed the drying trails of field mice and voles that ran through the tiny sprigs of greening moss and clover. The backyard phoebe male announced he was back, sallying after early insects in the pasture and pumping his tail rhythmically like one of those silly nodding birds whose habitats are office desks and car dashes. Flights of ducks and geese whistled over as their new plumage stylishly held them aloft. As dusk creeped in, a couple brave spring peepers called, but were nearly drowned out by the bugling of the Sandhill cranes overhead as they returned to their evening roosts. 

Being outside, free from the stuffiness and confines of inside, is incredibly liberating. Everyone needs a place – somewhere they identify with, somewhere they feel at ease in, somewhere to recharge — that they’re searching for:

Lookin’ for a reason
Roamin’ through the night to find
My place in this world                           ~Place in this World, Michael W. Smith (1990)

My place has always been outside. Being in, within, and a part of creation is of invigorating, purposeful, awe-inspiring, and calming, all at once. 

Thank goodness for spring!

Stubborn is as Stubborn Does

*Warning – this is a bit of a rant post*

It’s been made very clear to me over the last couple weeks that I’m one stubborn pain in the arse. At least, that’s the not-so-subtle vibes that I’ve gotten from a few folks trying to help me out as I learn to navigate life with crutches and a bum knee. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m overwhelming grateful that there are folks around me who are kind enough to offer help and I’m truly not trying to snub them. However,

1) I value independence. Yes, it may be a bit vain that I want to do everything for myself, by myself. But, folks aren’t always there when you need them. Better to learn how to do things yourself and not count on/rely on/overburden others who have their own issues to deal with. Even worse, I’m gun-shy of asking for help in situations where said help could refuse. That happened recently…and it stung a bit.

2) If I can take care of myself, I can still take care of others. That’s very important to me. 

3) Being able to come up with creative solutions to problems intrigues me. If you see me trying to balance a book on my head, carry a glass of water in my teeth, and use my hips alone to re-position my crutches, I’m probably having fun. The inherent danger of such activities also correlates with a sense of accomplishment. Seriously, how else am I going to entertain myself? 

4) I love challenges, especially physical challenges. 

5) I want to still be viewed as normal. Let me join the social groups, go to events, play games, without feeling the need to treat me special. I’m not dead. I’m not dying. I want to be included and loved, not accommodated. 

Should I learn to accept help from others more readily? Yes.

Do I feel as if I’m snubbing people when they do offer to help and I refuse. Yes. 

Will I continue to offer help to others who I think could also use a hand? Yes!

Am I young and stubborn – and will probably reconsider all of this as I get older? Yeah…

Should you continue to offer me a helping hand? Yes!

But, please don’t be offended if I don’t let you do everything for me, ok?

Long time coming – but not how I expected

Let me start out by saying that I’ve wanted to start a personal blog for a long time – however, time so easily flies away and I always had something more interesting to do.

Life has a funny way of stopping you in your tracks sometimes, especially when you’re comfortable with where you think you’re going.

On March 21st, while playing soccer in our Campus Edge co-ed team, I took a hard kick to the outside of my extended knee. Before I hit the ground, I knew this one was the B-I-G O-N-E. The instant searing pain created a spinning kaleidoscope of colored flecks in my vision as I curled up on the field, trying to manage the pain. After being carted off the field, with many a ‘We’re sure it’s just your IT-band acting up’, I hung out for awhile at the house of some of the team members’ and then called it a night – hoping the useless knee would magically reconfigure and be right-as-rain in the morning. Alas, it was not to be. Turns out I had left an ACL, part of my MCL, and a small chunk of medial meniscus on the field that night. Curiously, in hindsight, I recall the actual event being rather undramatic for my first real sports-related injury.

Last Thursday, March 13th, I had arthroscopic surgery to repair the knee. I am now the proud owner of a cadaver tendon – folded up nicely to emulate an ACL and screwed into my bones in the approximate locale of the original. I also carry a single stitch in my mensicus — which is more troublesome than it would seem at first blush. The end result of all of this is that I am now reduced to sitting in my porch chair, squeezed by a leg immobilizer, and soothed by the dulcet hum of my new best friend – the DonJoy Ice Man. He keeps my incised and traumatized knee tissues cool with his icy embrace. *Ahem!

My new, icy friend

The ACL rehab is a full 9 months which is bad enough, but the single meniscus stitch complicates things a bit and requires 6 weeks of crutches before additional progress can be made. Yikes! Those of you reading this likely know that is a near death-sentence for my typical lifestyle. Anyways, until I get my normal, athletic, crazy life back, I have a bit more time to appreciate the finer things in life, right?!

Most events have a silver lining if you look hard enough – even if you have to turn them over and shake them to get a tiny glimmer to pop out. My side-lining has shown me how amazing my friends are. They created a supportive network since the surgery, providing meals, entertainment, gifts – seriously! including gorgeous floral bouquets and chocolate, and shoulders to lean on. A couple in particular have really gone far beyond the call of duty. It’s humbling to realize how good I have it. Thanks, y’all – I love you.

Anyways, that’s where I’m at for the moment – hopefully my chair will inspire me to new blogging heights.

I’ll finish with a cherry-picked verse for the day:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!