For the first month or so of what seems like forever, I was doing fine on crutches. I don’t celebrate the occasions, but this wasn’t my first time using the metal medical sticks. Over the years, I have learned how to hold them correctly so that you won’t need towels wrapped around the tops to keep you from getting a rash on your sides. I’ve learned to make sure you don’t lean into them, putting pressure on the nerves in your anti-antiperspirant glossed armpits. I’ve learned a lot about crutches. Like how the tips can get stuck under storm doors and how although it might not seem like it, with a little jury-rigging they will eventually fit in the backseat of your car. I’ve learned that people can hear you coming from miles away stamp them against the ground and that backpacks make it so much easier to carry whatever you may need.
I’ve learned so much about crutches but this isn’t a post written by some physical therapist trying to provide hints and tricks for when you’ve sprained your ankle. No, this is written by a Christian who believes that God teaches us and gives us opportunities to grow in life every step or hop along the way. So then, instead of just telling you what I know about crutches, I want to tell you what the last 57 days and counting on crutches have taught me about life.
- Let people help.
Throughout this ordeal, I have had countless strangers offer me help. Some wanted to hold doors open for me and others wanted to carry things for me. For the most part I declined. “No that’s okay,” I would say, not wanting to bother them with my situation. That all changed when one day as I was leaving a restaurant and the cashier offered to hold the door open for me on my way out. I declined, citing my years of experience. I then pushed my back against the door to open it, lost my balance and fell on my butt. I’ve gotten better at letting people help since then, not just letting go of my pride, but realizing that people genuinely want to help. In some way, helping others gives us a sense of fulfillment. Far be it from me to rob someone else of that chance to give their time and effort.
- Sometimes you’re going to fall.
Apart from the aforementioned incident I fell one other time. It was around 10:30pm and I was trying to get something out of the closet in the hallway. I lost my balance and fell sideways into my Dad’s room, scaring him half to death. He wasn’t able to stop it and neither was I. Sometimes life is like that. Sometimes in life you fall and the only thing you can do is choose to get back up again. It’s simple as that.
- There is a right way and a wrong way.
That same evening after I fell, I got lazy about changing into my pajamas before bed. Instead of taking off my walking boot first, which would have been infinitely easier, I thought I’d try getting my pants over my boot. It became something like wrestling an alligator. I reached a point of no return, unable to either move my jeans up or down the ankle of my boot. I was stuck. After twenty minutes or so, I gave up. I found a box-cutter and five seconds later the jeans were off. Completely ruined, but off. This was a reminder that there is simply a right way and a wrong way to do things and the wrong way usually makes a mess. It’s almost always easier to do something the right way the first time.
I realize none of these revelations are new and they aren’t anything we don’t all learn at some point or another. I don’t know about you, but I need the reminders. It seems like they always come in the moments of struggle and challenge, don’t they? Maybe that’s why Paul says to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”