I strongly dislike being immobile.
As I write this post I’ve been suffering from a swollen ankle for over a week. Possibly a flare up of arthritis from overstraining it. The tough part is for me is not being able to walk. The swelling was causing the nerves in my foot to hurt 24/7 and making it impossible to put in pressure on my foot. Icing, elevation, heat, ibuprofen, nothing worked.
Of course this happened on Good Friday late afternoon, and in the middle of a global pandemic so going to the ER was not an option. And for those of you that don’t know, I’m a pastor so we typically have a few things going on during Holy Week, and Resurrection Day. Needless to say I was pretty much useless. This reality of intense pain and inability to walk coupled with my uselessness really had me frustrated.
Also I should give a shout out to my family that has been quarrentined for weeks, that somehow has endured me and my neediness, during this time of immobility for me. Being told to stay home is hard enough, having to work from home is even tougher and then throw in an injured ole geezer that needs a refill on ice or needs food or needs something every few hours get old no matter how saintly and patient and caring a person you happen to be. So kudos to my wife and kids for making me comfortable!
But this too, was difficult for me, I hate having people do things for me, I also hate not being able to do things for people. I am a helper, and when I can’t help, I am very frustrated and unfulfilled.
So the Monday after Easter I went to the doctor and got a shot and some anti-inflammatory pills. I actually was able to limp into the doctor’s office and go get my prescription from the pharmacy and was feeling like, okay I am on the mend. Tuesday I went to staff meeting at the church, and was on my foot not terribly too much but enough to realize, yeah this thing is still really swollen and hurts so bad. Well, you guessed it, the swelling increased even more and come Wednesday and Thursday I paid for it by hardly being able to stand much less walk. The pain was unbearable, and yes I am a wimp, but even for non wimpy people I’m pretty sure this pain would cause you to pause.
So Friday came, one week from the first bit of pain and swelling and thankfully the pain went from a 10 out of 10 down to a 6 out of 10. The swelling was almost gone and I was able to walk with a noticeable limp, but so glad it didn’t take 5 minutes to get to the bathroom. Today is Saturday and I am now walking with less and less of a limp and the pain is nearly gone. There is still stiffness and some swelling but I’m being a good patient and staying off of the foot as ordered by the family. They are rightfully tired of picking up my slack and having to operate a man down so to speak.
So you probably could care less about my foot injury and I probably lost half of you after the first two sentences but if you hung on to find out more, I’m so thankful you did. This time of immobility has really helped me see just how prideful I am. I really like doing things my way, I really like doing things for people and I really don’t like the way other people do things. I have repented of this and realized I need other people. I need to be thankful for them and grateful for how they do things, even if it’s not how I would have done it. God made them with different abilities and gifts for a reason.
I’ve never been immobile for an entire week. This has taught me a lot of empathy too, to empathize with those that struggle everyday with mobility, whether they were born without or whether through age or disease or accidents they are currently suffering and struggling with pain and the present or permanent situation of dealing with the inability to move without great effort.
There have been many people in my life that I have loved and even cared for that have struggled with walking at some point or being mobile. There have been many more in my friend circles that I have admired from afar and wondered, how do they do it, not from pity but amazement of stamina and determination. My minimal suffering in light of these truths has taught me to slow down and appreciate each step, appreciate each person, appreciate each act. People have gladly picked up the slack for me, genuinely cared for me and God has graciously provided more than I could have ever asked.
Pain has a way of reminding us that we really are limited, they we really do need help. I think living in pain in the midst of a global pandemic has taught me to just be grateful for everything, especially pain that causes me to pause and see my need and also my blessings.
If you are in pain today, I pray that you will be able to pause and be grateful. I pray that your pain would lessen and that you would be able to return to full strength. I empathize with you and know how un-fun pain is, but sometimes it helps us to see just how bright and full and joyous life is, it helps us develop a greater, fuller, deeper meaning to the days we live without pain.
It also helps me to remember that Jesus promises a life with Him where one day He will take us to where He is. A place that has no pain, no sin, no remembrance of evil or hate, a place where no tears and no brokenness exist. A place where only growth and flourishing and abundance and light can be found, if we will just trust in Him. So today if you are in pain, and you have seen your limitation, maybe you’ve even been immobilized, then my prayer is you will see your need for Jesus. We are all in need of Him, but many of us continue limping on, writhing in our pain, refusing to just stop and say I need help, I’m tired, I’m unable to do this at all.
I don’t know where you are or what you are going through, but I know this, Jesus love you. He came and suffered for you and I. He gave his life for to save sinners. It’s okay we all fall into that category. May your pain lead you to the cross to see someone that understands, someone that has conquered all pain and suffering, even death so that you might live victoriously forevermore.
Love Pastor David