Sometimes, we have to give ourselves permission to slow down. The world won’t end. How do I know? Find out.
This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!
Slow Down? Who’s Got Time for That?!
I fell down a mountain in February while out mountain biking. It hurt. My guardian angels protected me from serious harm, and my elbow and knee guards prevented serious scrapes and bruises as I tumbled over rocks and sticks and came to an abrupt stop against a large rock next to a worn-out saguaro carcass.
I used my Lamaze breathing to handle the pain. Who would have thought something I learned almost 30 years ago would come in handy? Once the pain settled, I crawled 20 feet back up the slope and taped my ankle. It really hurt. Then I had to rescue my bike—which meant going back down the mountain a ways and pushing it up. I got on my bike and pedaled another nine miles to reach our car.
After making our Costco run, we drove three hours to get home. By the time I fell into bed that night, I relented and asked Pedro if he could bring me some Tylenol and ice. By the next morning, I couldn’t walk.
Instead of going to work, I drove 90 miles to an urgent ortho clinic in the nearest city with good medical services. The diagnosis? My anterior talofibular ligament was floating around in my ankle instead of holding my fibula to my talus.
Fast forward three weeks, and I found myself under the surgeon’s knife. In our consult, he made the surgery and recovery sound like a piece of cake. I’d be up and running in no time at all. But between the consult and the knife, I’d done some online research and the piece of cake started to look more like an elaborately decorated wedding cake with layers and colors and nuance.
I hopped out of the surgery center with instructions to keep my foot elevated at all times until my post-op appointment. Twelve long days away. I didn’t have time for that. But the instructions clearly stated, ‘no weight-bearing (which means crutches) and keep elevated.’ I had to get permission from work to take off more than the two days I had asked for.
I Gave Myself Permission to Slow Down (it Wasn’t Easy)
I had to give myself permission to ask other asking other people to help me. Asking for help seemed like failure. Now I see it as misplaced pride. I had to ask people to sub for me for my weekend supervision duty. Pedro had to bring me a cooler of ice so I could keep the back of my knee iced.
After two days in my recliner, I realized I needed to give myself permission to slow down. The world wouldn’t end if I didn’t keep up my exercise routine. Planets would stay in place and not spin out of control if I just sat in my recliner all day long.
I did what I could, when I could. Yes, you can do laundry and make bread while in pain and only have one leg to stand on. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. But my to-do list changed from dozens of items to just one or two. Survive the pain. Take a nap.
What happened when I gave myself permission to slow down? I survived. The naps felt good. Sleep brings healing and rest restores. I read a lot of books and watched a tutorial on watercolor painting. My students sent me assignments via email, and I kept up with lesson planning.
The cast came off a week ago, and I graduated to a walking boot. Pain still nips at my heals like an annoying lap dog. I can’t take anti-inflammatory medications, so I have to make due with Tylenol and ice. Remembering I gave myself permission to slow down presents a challenge, though.
My ankle hasn’t healed completely. I don’t have to do everything I did before the accident. The world won’t end if I don’t vacuum, cook, or scrub the toilets. My students still learn even though I sit in a chair with my leg up for 90% of every class period.
If I want to heal, I need to give myself permission to slow down every. single. day. When my pride pushes me to do more than I should, I cling to Matthew 11:28. I come to Jesus and ask for rest.
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