“…It’s not that you don’t have the capacity to accept the truth. You don’t want to accept it, and you hide behind your own logic and intelligence while the truth marches by. Step out and join it, for goodness’’ sake! Shout it out in full step! I believe!” ― Ted Dekker, Saint
I do not accept what is happening. The broken foot. The Jones Fracture. And yet the truth marches on with or without me but with my right foot held firmly in its grasp.
It’s all just so hard to accept. Task by task my will is beaten into submission. Everything, everything, takes longer than ever before. Then I even thought possible. Those daily rituals that you used to thoughtlessly cruise through on your way to take a shower and get to work. They have all now exponentially grown in size and complexity. They are no longer menial. You are no longer always up to them.
Swing your legs around to get out of bed, grab whatever pair of shorts and bra lie close by that you took off the night before. Grab your crutches, stand, crutch to the bathroom, pee, brush your teeth, crutch to the kitchen, fill the dog bowl with food, refill his water, crutch to the kitchen window, open the blinds. Crutch back to the sink, prep a pot of coffee.
And now the dog is ready to go outside. The stairs await you.
One by one you hop down step after step. Place a steadying crutch on the step below, grab the railing, hop to the next step. Steady yourself. Place the crutch on the next step below, grab the railing, hop down to that next step. Steady yourself. And so on.
Once at the bottom of the stairs, hop to the front the door, let the dog out. Now the quandary – do you stand there on one foot and wait for him or do you hop back upstairs, KNOWING, that in a short time from now you will have to hop back downstairs and let him inside again.
There’s construction at the house next door – large dump trucks and tractor trailers drive up and down the driveway. Sometimes Oliver barks and chases them as they pass. At 100lbs. he is still half the size of some of the larger tires that roll by. I wonder if they even see him. If they hear him. Would it even matter. If it’s nice outside I will go sit in the chair in the driveway and soak in the morning sun and give Oliver some time outside while I’m there to watch over him. On other what seem to be quieter mornings I’ve chosen to leave him outside and make my way back upstairs.
Grab the railing and steady yourself on the crutch, hop up to the next step. Grab the railing and steady yourself on the crutch, hop up to the next step. Every small task now takes such focus.
On Saturday Oliver was chasing a ball at full speed and clipped the corner of a stone wall with his left rear leg. As he yelped in pain and limped along on three legs I panicked and started dialing from my perch at the bottom of the driveway.
It was Saturday afternoon and no one was answering.
Lie down, Oliver! I screamed to him as he kept trying to stand. I stood up from my chair and crutched up the driveway towards him. He met me half way and we both sat down. I continued to dial. To text. To PM on FB. Crickets. No one was going to help.
It was then that I decided I was going to left foot drive Oliver to the emergency vet clinic. I opened the back of my truck and in a fit of tears and prayers told him to get in. He hopped in using his one good leg. As I crawled into the driver’s seat I burst into a prayerful whale of a cry and begged God for forgiveness for whatever it is I had done. ‘Dear God, please, please forgive me,’ I pleaded. ‘Just please let Oliver be okay.’ My heart had folded in on itself. I had had enough. My mind was shutting down. My will was gone.
‘Dear God, I am so very truly sorry.’
I meant it. I was humbled. If it was not rock bottom that was okay as I was ready to start swimming up and leave whatever darker place awaited to its unknown depths.
My humility had found its own depth.
It feels as if I’m at war but with an invisible enemy. One that is all powerful and I am slow to learn, to accept, that I am completely powerless.
There’s an emptiness to all of this. A certain kind of bleakness. I know there’s a lesson to be learned and I’m ready to learn whatever it may be, but I’m off to a difficult and rocky start.
I started the engine and slowly backed out of the garage.
At the vet when I hobbled inside I asked the vet tech if I could have help getting my dog out of the car. He looked at me and radioed to the back room for reinforcements.
‘We need some help up here,’ he said. ‘Dog on three legs, owner on crutches.’
I met the eyes of the other pet owners in the waiting room as they studied my crutches and processed the vet tech’s request. I could feel their confusion. It matched my own. I looked down at my broken foot and thought, You can’t make this shit up.
‘Oliver is going to be okay,’ the vet said. ‘Nothing broken, a couple stitches, he’s limping, but he will be fine.’
‘Are you sure?’ I asked. I could hardly believe it. The force with which he collided with the corner of the stone wall left me certain he’d shattered his leg or his hip.
‘Nothing torn, nothing broken. I’ve checked him out pretty good. He’s a good patient. He’ll be ready to go home here shortly.’
The next day, Sunday afternoon, armed with my new found independence I managed to get up and showered by 3pm and left foot drove myself to 5pm mass. I wanted to reconnect with my faith – with faith in something bigger than me and my broken foot and devastated pride. But mostly, I just wanted to say Thank You.
Thank you for letting Oliver be okay.
During the sermon the priest talked about having faith. He said, faith is not an intellectual act, but one found within the soul, within the spirit inside each of us. Faith is listening to your spirit and letting it guide you to what you know is right and good. Faith is knowing God is always with you on your path. I have faith there will be an end to this injury. In 6 weeks, in 8. I do not know but I know I will not always be here feeling trapped and lonely and left behind. I need to have faith in this process. That something beautiful and good will come of it.