Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The first step towards healing
I begin the process of healing when I look internally with fearless honesty
About a month ago I joined a neighbor for what has been referred to as "old man basketball." I love to play and was in dire need of some exercise. I arrived early to do plenty of stretching as it had been nearly a year since I had last played and the last thing I wanted to do was pull a muscle or hurt myself unnecessarily. I had just purchased my first motorcycle that week and being able to ride was very high on my priority list. about 10 minutes into the game I changed directions awkwardly and rolled my ankle over..... (sigh).
I limped around painfully for a moment hoping I could just walk it off but I sensed it was bad. Determined and dumb I kept playing and running around the court for the next 2 quarters. Near the end of the game I took a seat and removed my shoe to see that my ankle had disappeared beneath a ball of swollen flesh. My damaged pride and I raised a white flag and called it quits for the night.
I have twisted ankles before so I started the routine of alternating between a heating pad and an ice pack while I elevated it for the rest of the night. The next morning my ankle had swollen to the size of a large grapefruit. A sickly purple color was spreading across my entire foot and I could not bare any of my weight to walk. I am very fortunate to have a relative with a medical practice and she was kind enough to find a time to see me that morning. I was hopeful that I could maybe get some crutches, meds to manage the pain, and an atta-boy for having taken proper care of it the night before. After she took a look at it and manipulated the ankle in a few different directions to assess the damage I was told I had received a grade three sprain, I had probably pulled or torn ligaments, heating the ankle was only agitating it, and that I would need an x-ray to find out if I had shaved any bone chips off my ankle. The last thing I wanted was an x-ray. I knew what it would cost me for that procedure, and this wasn't at all what I was hoping for or expecting.
"Do I have to?"
Even as the words came out of my mouth they sounded kind of whiny. I asked what my options were and I was told that if it wasn't broken I could wear an air-cast to stabilize the ankle and keep from damaging it further. If it was broken I was going to need a boot for several weeks which would mean no riding my motorcycle. NOOOO!!!!! I did not want to lose the chance to ride just days after I had gotten my bike. It was clear that if I wanted to heal properly I was going to have to have it done, regardless of the cost and no matter what the outcome would reveal.
All of my emotional wounds are internal. Even if they show on the surface and come out side-ways through anger, fear and other behaviors they originate deeper. If I hope to heal it will first require self-reflection through looking at myself with painful honesty. I often resist. I fear the emotional cost will be too great. I fear the time and effort it may take for the healing to occur. What will I have to do if I find out what is wrong? What if I can't fix it? I can always find a reason or justification not to look, but healing happens only after I take that step. Today I will not be afraid to look inside. I will look below the obvious pain on the outside to those wounded places that need healing. I will be willing to look beyond the surface behaviors to the deeper trauma from which they originate. I will be willing to start the journey of healing. As I do look inside I will see that by walking (or limping) along the path of healing is the only way for me to find wholeness. Healing begins after looking into the broken places inside.
Today I look internally with fearless honesty.
(No broken bones! I'm still in an air-cast but I rode the bike today. 36 degrees is a balmy December day and perfect for a ride.)
Comments and discussion are always welcomed!