A watched pot never
A strained achilles, even when “watched” and attended too, takes an awfully long time to heal.
I am growing impatient and want to be done with the everyday parables of my achilles. Yet, here I am again, frustrated that I will still miss out on two more weeks of softball to give space for my strained achilles to regain it's strength and mobility. I'd like to say that I'm learning patience, but...
This ongoing rehab and healing process continues to unearth things in me – things about both God and me. I'd much rather prefer to look at the flowers in the field and the birds in the air to learn more about my God and to soothe my worried soul. But it seems my summer assignment thus far (even in the context of the “do not worries” of Matthew 6 is to look at my achilles – without worry – and without fear of missing out. Yea, I know, “look at your achilles” is not in the Bible. And yet I continue to lean in - letting this pain lead me to better understand my God, my soul and the needs of my body.
What about God?
I love my chiropractor. She is fascinated and in awe of the human body and how everything connects and works together for optimal health – from what we eat to how we move and how we prepare to move and how we take care of ourselves after we move. As I lay on the table being ultra sounded or massaged or “adjusted” she teaches me...she, with a lilt of awe and with everyday language shares how the body works, what the body needs. And she prescribes and demonstrates treatments (exercises, supplements, stretches with frequency etc) to help me get better. Her awe fans the flame of my own. By stretching my gluts, I help my soleus, which helps my achilles. By doing heel drops I help the “sticky like” stuff that comes in to help hold/heal the little tears in my achilles to align more rightly instead of laying in a mess like globby pick-up-sticks. Vitamin C will help speed the results as well. I always leave the chiropractor feeling like I was listened to, attended to, and given both care and information to help me heal better. I am in awe and more aware of how amazing my body works each time I leave her office.
The last few times I've been injured (whiplash and sprained ankle) I knew I need to go to a doctor. But I chose to go to my chiropractic doctor because I know my primary care physician would take a short look, maybe touch my achilles to determine the level of pain and then tell me to R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress, elevate). In other words she would tell me, as a life-time lay athlete, what I already know! She would then, perhaps, refer me out to a Physical Therapist or Sports Medicine specialist. Another doctor, another co-pay, another scheduling appointment to squeeze in.
I keep choosing to go to my chiropractor, though, because she doesn't merely tell me what I already know … she attends to my injury and teaches me how to care for myself to bring healing. For a whole hour I experience a hands on massage, electric stimulation, ultra sound, being adjusted or having her teach me new stretching or kinesio taping techniques. Actually, when I think about it – she is how I want God to be... experientially instructive, hands on concern and assistance with the parts of my body that are keeping me from living out fully and freely. Instead of just pontificating knowledge, writing a prescription and referring me out (all in 12 minutes or less), she pulls up her sleeves and companions me in my healing process.
I wonder if we see God like the general doctor (especially the ones constrained my today's health care industry and insurance standards). Why go to God when He only tells us what we already know (I should stop overeating, swearing, gossiping, and/or pray, care for the downtrodden, read my Bible more)? Why go to hear a “standard” prescription as a remedy (but not necessarily a cure), knowing that it might help for a while, but will probably not get to the core of the issue? If my doctor only has 12 minutes to spend with me, and then only to refer me out to other tests and procedures or specialists, I will, in the case of a more familiar injury like a sprained ankle or achilles, just google the answers myself and save a bunch of money.
Yea, if God were like that, I wouldn't want to go to Him either.
What am I learning about me?
I don't like resting. I am impatient. I want healing without so much hard work. I don't like being told what to do, but I like being shown what to do. I am determined to get better because sitting on the sidelines sucks. Health is not a place I want to skimp...a place I must continue to lean in and learn my body, my needs, what helps me stay focused, energized and hopefully, without ongoing injuries. My own impatience has slowed my healing process by trying to get back out there too early. I don't like waiting. Interesting, because I believe that I live a much more unhurried existence than most people I know. I have margin in my life. I have room for self-care. But this injury has unhurried me even more...(seriously Lord, even more slowly? I have to say “no” to even more things?) I cannot walk as fast, and it takes time to prepare for a walk, walk, stretch during the walk while I'm warmed-up, walk back home, do heel dips after my walk and ice, compress and elevate. It's summer time and though I can sit and look at the birds and flowers...I want to be frolicking. I'm missing out on hikes and tennis and even joining walking around this city I love.
It's s o d a r n s l o w ...
...but the journey (just ask the tortoise) is not about speed. I am not going to miss out.
“...don't you think God will attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving... Steep your life in God-reality, god initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your every day human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what god is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow (if you'll be well enough to play in the next game). God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matt 6: 31-34 The Message
Lord, grant me the grace to hear, see, feel the ways you are attending to my soul, in the same way the chiropractor attends to my body. Grant me the grace to continue to receive this injury as a gift, not as a curse. May I experience the reality that I am not missing out...help me to deal with the frustrations when they come. And thank you for making such amazingly complex and integrated bodies!