Really? I can’t even wipe my own a… okay, okay, tmi, I know. Let me back up and tell you of the unbelievably, unwelcomed, extremely inconvenient tale that began weaving its way into my life this month.
It all began when I rushed into a burning building, grabbed a small child who was holding a puppy, ran toward the front door aiming for safety and encountered an armed intruder. I immediately gave him my finest karate kick to the throat (yes, I can reach my leg up that high!), then burst across the front porch, over the step and landed my right foot just perfectly on the edge of my sidewalk. Upon hearing a ridiculously loud crack I immediately knew my ankle was broken. All of my heroic effort was worth it though, so I could write this blog. Oh, did I mention that nothing preceding the bursting across my porch part is in fact true? Yes, it is all fabricated except for the stepping onto the edge of my sidewalk and cracking the tip of my fibula bone clean off. Ouch!
The bottom right side of my leg swelled into the size of a baseball within minutes. I was literally laying on my front lawn and the plethora of phone calls began.
“Hi Babe, what’s up?” my hubby answered so cheerfully. However, as soon as he heard the tone in my voice he immediately knew something was wrong. “Ummm, I just broke my foot. I don’t know what to do, I need you.” He turned around on his way to work to come straight back home. Another call to a friend and within fifteen minutes I was on my way to the ER.
“Oh yaaaah, you definitely did the deed”. I thought that x-ray techs were not allowed to give you their opinion! Haha. I was put in a temporary molded brace and sent on my way to go directly to see my primary doctor. Another friend met me at the ER with In-N-Out! Yum! Then I was whisked away to see the doc, fill prescriptions and eventually end up home for the night in complete misery.
After the hype of the day was done, there I sat on my couch downstairs. All had gone to bed and all was eerily quiet. I began to sob, then weep uncontrollably. This. Is. Awful. Lord, I don’t WANT to learn any lessons about slowing down, or being grateful, or allowing others to care for me, or any of the rest of that life-lessons-learning crap! I just want to get on with my days and go full speed like I always do. Yet the Lord had another plan.
Now hold on, I don’t believe the Lord reached down from the heavens and broke my foot so He could get my attention; that’s just plain bad theology. But I do know that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose.” A little reminder from Romans 8:28 that flashed on repeat in my mind.
As I write this, it has been exactly four weeks since I broke my fibula. On my right leg. Attached to my driving foot. The one that gives me complete freedom to go where I want, when I want. Ya that one. It has been awful. I am 100% dependent on others. And will be for at least another four to six weeks. At least my cast is bright pink! But you know what else is bright? The obvious goodness of the Lord through His people!
People who come over early in the morning to make sure your kids get dressed, fed and off to school on time. People that sign up to bring your whole family meals because you can’t even manage to get around your kitchen. People who take you to work, and then back home. People who make sure your kids don’t miss soccer and ballet and dentist appointments. People who come over and take multiple bags of your laundry to their own house and return it the next day separated and folded. People who watch your kids, bring you coffee, take you to the orthopedic surgeon, let you cry like a baby, push your wheelchair, donate motorized scooters, give you hugs and pray for healing. People who carry the name “Grams” and travel hours across Southern California through retched LA traffic at seventy-eight years old to be with you for a week (and sort through ten loads of laundry to be put away)! People who bear the name “husband” who are honored to fulfill their vow in sickness and in health to humbly serve you and work a full week and still play double-duty as dad and mom for a season. That is the BODY of Christ in full force! It is filled with love, sacrifice, service, inconvenience and hope. It sees your messy house, your junk, your lowest moments, and brings you to humility and gratitude. It is needed my friends. It is vital. It is essential. It. Is. Love.
It is one of the most humbling and frustrating times I have ever been in. Something so simple as stepping the wrong way onto the edge of a sidewalk has dramatically altered my way of life for a time. But I am healing. I am getting better. I’m counting down the days till I can get in my car and drive away, anywhere, on my own. But I will forever be grateful. I will return the favor of love and sacrifice and generosity and prayer. When I am called on to meet a need and serve – I will jump (literally, because I can!) at the chance to bless someone else.
They will know we are Christians by our love. Not by our bumper stickers, or clever punny t-shirts, or how many times we show up to church on Sundays. Simply by our love. We love because He first loved us. I am so grateful to have been bathed in love over the last four weeks. And even the days when it has been hard for me to receive, I am learning. Accepting help, whether desperate for it or not, is a central part to living in true community.
So thank you to all who have cared for me and loved me, not just this last month – but for my whole life. You have shown me Christ and I pray that by your example I will also love and care for others. I will serve you, show up, bring a meal, say a prayer, give a ride, hug you while you cry, do your laundry, dress your kids and whatever else ends up on the list. Because you are my family. And I will do it with a grateful heart, bathed in love. I hope you don’t go and break your leg to get this from me, or anyone else! I hope you simply reach out, and ask, and express what your needs are, so we can all know how to love and be loved. It’s our greatest command. Let’s commit to being better at it! Now get out there and spread the love!
Livin’ Free (and bound for a limited time)