WHEN COACH GOES ON VACATION
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. Ephesians 2:13 NLT
I have been at this recovery gig for a year and a half. That equates to a lot of days, weeks and months. Hours even, because there are times when the afflicted one counts hours.
I have shared my journey in this blog, and have tried to be honest with how it’s going and how my mental health is handling it. Both wax and wane, if I were to be truthful, with some days being better than others.
Walking 8 months on broken feet is never a good thing and I am paying the consequences of that. It’s not from lack of trying to get help – injury to feet weeks before a world-wide pandemic caused major hiccups along the way too.
So, here we are.
When I first saw Coach, well, he wasn’t Coach then, just a regular manual therapist guy, he was confident that once he manipulated the bones back into place, things would be great. Soft tissue would heal, stuff would stay put.
If only it were that simple.
Turns out ligaments and tendons that have been stretched out for months, like it that way just fine. Not only did the bones slip back to where they were in the injured state, they liked being there too. Oh what a tangled web.
Countless hours driving up to see Coach in the wee s’mas of the day. Usually twice a week for over a year. The painful manipulations – in my case it’s called a cuboid whip (!!!) to get those cuboids in place and then the taping to keep them there.
Oh yes, the taping. It became more than just taping because my skin began to react to the latex. Open wounds, which praise God we were able to manage, became part of my story. We switched up the taping method to include cloth straps, heel-lace pads, a barrier cream each time, and then coach tape. Did I mention how tight it was? Oh yes. Tight. Very.
Think of it as getting new casts twice a week. Notice the plural? It’s because it’s both feet. Not one. Oh no, I have the daily special – two for the price of one.
I never paid much attention to my feet in the past. They worked and got me where I needed to go. We had a great relationship which included great shoes. I’ve hiked, walked, run, ridden, driven, kayaked, danced, put them under loved-ones tables, and let the ocean waters wash over them.
The relationship has shifted somewhat. Now everything filters through their pain. Everything. In spite of taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) many nights my feet are one of the last things I think about and the first thing I assess in the morning. And most nights in the middle – 2 AM feedings have come again, except it’s the feet and not a precious bundle of joy.
Coach became Coach about a year ago – when he shared with me that he would not abandon me and he would see me through to the end, and then beyond. He recognized that because of the uniqueness of the situation many had given up on me and my feet. At this point we had been seeing quite a few doctors, getting imaging, etc., as well as seeing him. He was right every single time a decision needed to be made or a new symptom cropped up. (Just don’t say that out loud to him!!)
And now a year in, my husband and I began recounting how many times Coach had been right. How many times he had been there for me/us. Because of his track record we decided to take a leap of faith. We had been praying for so long for direction and help and Coach had proven himself to us.
We asked him to lead my care.
He said yes.
He became Coach.
So, when a coach goes on vacation the players goof off, right? Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work? Yes, covid was happening all this time, I got covid (badly), he did take time off often, I went to Hawaii as well as my first trip which was to see family 400 hundred miles from here.
But this time, on his vacation, instead of basking in the Florida sun and sand, he was thinking about how to move my progress forward. A few weeks ago he told me I was in the middle of this recovery. I had months – if not years - stretched out in front of me like a licorice rope (red, not black). I shared with him before he went on the said vacation, how much that news rocked my world. And it did. I thought I was on the home stretch. It turns out I am somewhere in the middle.
Jesus assures us -
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT
Peace. A gift. One that I need, even now, to make it through the day. Peace is the filter I need instead of the pain. Because everything filters through my feet – not that I want it this way, rather it’s become a habit that screams, “MORE! Think only of me! I want it my way! Your life is defined by what is happening with your feet, so you might as well get used to it.”
Rather, God is asking me to run to Him in prayer, trusting and believing Him for the answers and thanking Him for all He has done (Philippians 4:6-7). And He has done a lot. Much more than I can possibly ask or imagine. When I thank and when I pray instead of worry, God’s peace I will experience.
THE GIFT OF EXPERIENCE
To experience is to know by trial. To feel, taste, see, hear. To try on. To incorporate it in my life. God’s peace will wash over me so I can experience it in its fullest intent and it will guard me. It will guard my heart and mind. It will guard the core of who I am. It will watch so the filter of pain can be transformed into a filter of praise, of worship and of trust.
When I saw Coach Thursday he was incredibly animated after his vacation. He’s always upbeat and enthusiastic – even at 7 AM! He had me try lying a new way on his table. That didn’t work, so he tried another. He pulled, prodded, analyzed, manipulated more. It was fast, furious and painful. Yikes. I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck - feet first. When I could breathe, I asked him about his new method.
It turns out he planned out his next moves on my feet (and now it’s my whole body because with the increased walking not only are the feet being tested but my legs, hips, back, neck, core, everything, are being affected). His answer to my question: aggressive and fast.
I’m still recovering from that sprint session with him.
When I want to give up, allow pain to be my life-filter, walk away and/or quit, I have to remember that my progress will even interrupt someone else’s vacation. When I want to wallow in the fact that I am the lonely zebra in a herd of horses, I need to remember that I am not alone. My Shepherd is with me. He orchestrates my life and puts people in my path to help, encourage, manipulate (in a good way) and push me forward.
His peace washed over me as I wrote this. I needed that.
How about you?
LORD, You are so gracious and kind and longsuffering. In Your love, You hold us close, You move us forward and You allow us to be stretched so we can grow. You are amazing. May I never cease to pray, thank and worship You. Forgive me for the times when I have allowed worry or pain to filter my life. Thank You for giving me a fresh start. AMEN