A day before my cargo bike landed on my leg, fracturing it into tiny pieces, I resolved once again to accept the unexpected as the gateway to adventure in our lives.
In my substack letter I wrote,
“Life doesn’t respect our Tuesday schedules. It shows up at our door unannounced, kindly asking for our attention and inviting us to consider a redirection.
I’m not one for surprises, especially the ones that call me to stop what I had planned and do nothing except maybe dab my tears and sink into the pain. But when life knocks me over with its gusty winds, I’m reminded of the promise of adventure.”
What triggered the piece was an afternoon argument with my husband. I had plans for the rest of my day, how I wanted to spend the last couple hours before fetching my kids from school, but relational tension often takes precedence, consumes my mind, and I wasn’t able to finish what I wanted.
Through this minor redirection on my Tuesday, I realized yet again the power forgiveness has to move me forward and through any kind of difficult moments in life.
In the same substack letter I continued,
“Maybe through entertaining the idea of forgiveness I regain my footing when my inner world is shaken.
Slow and cautious, I take my time injecting forgiveness into the whole situation.
I forgive my husband. I forgive myself. I forgive reality.”
The next day, I lost my ability to walk, run, bike, and move on two legs.
My Wednesday trip to pick up my kids from school turned into a 4-hour visit to the emergency room. I literally and figuratively lost my footing and have been dabbing my tears and sinking into the pain ever since.
In these instances, the overriding question we all want to know is, when will I ever be able to walk again?
The terrible unexpected times in life are disorienting, and the little energy we do have is reserved for crying and managing the pain, ache, or sickness. Although I can start weight-bearing at the end of December, healing will take practice and patience. My muscles and tendons will need weeks to stretch and learn how to stand on solid ground again. Walking will feel foreign for a while, running probably even more so.
Albeit temporary, for someone like me, who loves to sweat and smiles when she exercises, who can’t get enough fresh air on my face, who bikes everywhere around her city, this was a massive diversion from my normal routines.
I wrongly assumed I’d be able to do more than this with a broken leg. I’d forgotten just how immersive and intense the healing process can be. From the outside, it might look more like we’re sitting, waiting, and wailing.
But we are healing.
Our bodies and our hearts come together again in the constriction of a cast.
It feels like torture at times, a kind of claustrophobia. Everything closes in on us, our world shrinks and we retreat into a dark and quiet cave. Time cannot move fast enough. We want to wriggle out of our circumstances, cut off our own cast, and return into the brightness of how life used to be.
Meanwhile, life is trying to show us the hardened cast, this cold cave, is really an awkward cocoon.
It’s an overused metaphor I know, and it’s one I’ve never liked.
Who really wants to be completely wrapped up in a suffocating silk casing? Sure the promise of a beautiful butterfly is on the other side, but do we really have to be made into mush first?
It’s a step I’d rather skip.
And yet, I’ll never walk again unless I face my hatred for the hellish parts of life, and forgive life for instinctively guiding me down the ancient and unexplainable path of transformation.
What does it mean to offer forgiveness towards life when we aren’t in love with where we’re at, when you’ve lost your footing?
Here are 4 anchoring beliefs I hold on to:
- Don’t take hard times personally. It’s not your fault.
- Focus on the story of abundance and beauty in the world rather than the one of lack and suffering.
- Don’t try to find the lessons in pain. It’s merely a part of life, offering us a point of profound connection with others.
- Realize you are still safe here. You don’t need to expect the worst or be led by fear. You can be on the lookout goodness to greet you around every corner.