Today was a very big deal in my small corner of the world. I actually... drum roll please... drove to McDonald's and got myself a coffee! True story. I am sure this small errand does not seem very noteworthy in the grand scheme of things to others, but to me it was monumental. The reason is I have been in a boot cast since mid-December due to bunion surgery and have not been able to drive since then. Today as the ice had melted, I am spending more time in shoes and my pain was minimal, I ventured out on my quest. It is incredible how liberating this little bit of independence, this baby step felt, and it definitely started my day in a very positive fashion.
These past weeks, have taught me so much. It is difficult for someone like me who finds pride in being independent to rely on others for virtually everything. Putting my feet up was necessary, but not always as easy or enjoyable as I anticipated. Recovery takes time and patience is key. Looking over a boot cast all these weeks has given me a very different vantage point. With much time to reflect, here are some key lessons I have learned which I hope you can apply to situations that you may be facing at this time.
Don't Take Anything for Granted
My day-to-day life has completely changed since my surgery. Each day gets better, but generally speaking I have been very housebound and sedentary. Prior to my surgery, I kept very busy, was very active in the community, was always running errands, enjoyed going to the gym with my family and then it all came to a screeching halt. Even walking was very difficult. To become mobile, I started with a walker that I used constantly as both a walker and a wheelchair. Getting up on my feet and going about my regular routine was absolutely exhausting. It was so easy to get discouraged. I even needed help to take a bath. It was a very humbling experience. I had a revelation of so much that I take for granted. I knew I would get better in time but thought about what about those who don't? It was a real eye opener to say the least. My first real outing was our annual Christmas Eve candlelight church service, and even though I was in a wheelchair, I was ecstatic to be there.
Patience is Key
There have been ups and downs in my recovery. My walking has been slow and difficult. I constantly need to focus on walking properly to avoid injury and improper form. Progress was steady and my recovery was on point and then I got an infection in my incision. Pain increased and my spirits plummeted. The progress I had made seemed meaningless and anger set in. Fortunately I was back on track in no time thanks to antibiotics, and nursing visits to my home. Like anything in life recovery takes time and we must be patient and not try to rush the work that is being done to bring us to a point of restoration. Baby steps will get you there. Focusing on the daily progress is better than a race to the finish line. I joked with my family that I can't wait to move from "ice and elevate, to dance and celebrate!"
Your Job Will be Waiting For You
No matter what we do professionally the truth of the matter is as much as we would like to deny it, we are replaceable. So many of us let our careers define us. It is so much of who we are and what brings meaning to our lives. I get great satisfaction from my job and strive to ensure that I am adding value to my students' lives each day. Honestly, I had a difficult time thinking about turning my classroom over to someone else. I love my students. I have worked hard to establish routines and rapport with them and I wanted them to feel comfortable with me leaving them for a short time. I am incredibly blessed. My supply teacher has been amazing. The kids are thriving and he and the support staff have been making their transition time during my absence very smooth and positive. When I go back, the kids have had a very productive and pleasant experience and they were in excellent hands. Stepping away from your job is okay for a short period of time when necessary, and it helps you appreciate the employment you have so much more.
People Step Up as You Step Aside
If I never knew I had a great support network of family and friends, I sure know it now. There has been so many prayers going up for me and I feel it. Not only that, but I have received so many gifts, cards, emails, texts, meals and visits my heart is truly overflowing. I have always tried to live a life that gives encouragement to others, and through this experience, it has come right back to me. I feel so blessed and loved and I am so grateful. My own family has always been incredible, but they have done so much more for me through this process and I know my experience would be so much more difficult without them.
There Are Better Days Ahead
My mom always said throughout my life and during my hardest struggles "There are better days ahead" and she is so right. Through my ups and downs, I have tried to keep my perspective that things WILL get better and I need to remind myself of that. I will look back on this time and be grateful for the season of rest and the invaluable lessons I have learned. Keeping perspective is key. Be open to what the trials teach you and know that you will come out on the other side when the time is right. You and I have what it takes to come through this, whatever "this" may look like in your world. Christopher Robin had it right when he said "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." I am wishing you all the best today and always and even if it is baby steps, remember the fact that you are headed in the right direction is all that really matters!
Until next time,
Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Little Lesson Learned: Everything we go through positive or negative has the opportunity to teach us something if we are ready and willing to see that.
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