My sparkling eyed middle daughter flounced off the couch, twirled through the family room, and took a flying dance-leap up the double stair into the living room. The crash that ensued as her foot caught the top step sent a silence over the whole house as we all waited for her reaction. The reaction found us in the emergency room staring at x-rays of her poor little big toe. “Crush fracture”, said the doctor. I’d spend the next 4 weeks chuckling internally each time someone spoke to my daughter about her “broken” toe in a heavy cast boot. She’d correct them every time.
It’s not broken. It’s crushed.
Two weeks ago I found myself at an appointment of my own. 10 months ago I injured my knee. Several months of extreme pain were spent trying to find answers without success. Finally, a specialist identified the issue. A month out from surgery came much relief and improvement. Then, strange, unexplainable symptoms began 2 months out from surgery that brought new concern and testing. In a scary weekend in the emergency room, I dodged an emergency surgery and thought I was on the rise. The tests that came back confirmed something even scarier than another surgery. News that 10 months of pain have scrambled my nervous system’s response to my leg. Words came like waves. Neurological. Chronic. Pain. Forever. Disability. Specialists. Spreading. Never. Always. A flounce, a twirl, and a crash. Crushed. A silence fell over my entire soul as my mind waited for a reaction to the news that
Life may never be what I had planned.
I’m not on the other side looking back. I’m squinting through the dust into something I can’t see yet. The whisper that reminds me to let go is breaking through my consciousness once again. This time…something even harder for me to grasp. Can I hear it above the voice of the anxious thoughts? Do I believe what I say I believe? Can I walk through a valley that I can’t bootstrap with my own adjectives? How do eyes, so accustomed to focusing on what is seen fix their focus on the unseen? Where do I balance hope for healing with acceptance and understanding that my life can have great value in the midst of the pain?
I know the pain jars through you, too, as your feet hit the floor each morning.
Maybe your pain isn’t physical. Maybe it is. Maybe it is a marriage that didn’t go as planned. Maybe a betrayal wound that just won’t heal. Maybe the trauma of a lifetime of poor treatment has scrambled nerves that will never respond correctly to a relationship again. Last night, I shared my newfound anxiety and fight with depression with a person I’ve been mentoring for almost a year. For the first time, I saw her soul through her eyes, and she poured out her heart. Hope glimmered as we cried. I would never have chosen this pain for myself. At the same time, I can sense there is a treasure being forged in this time of pressure. I don’t have words for it yet, but I am convinced it is going to be worth finding. Will you find it with me?
I feel the silence is waiting for us.