I have at least earned a graduate degree in the art of rolling with the punches.
My life has been a lurching, tipping, waterlogged, storm-torn fishing boat for as long as I can remember, and over the past decade I have learned to practice resilience, Biblical lament, gratitude, and realism rooted in unflinching hope.
Apart from the global impact that 2020 has had on all of us, for me this year has been cluttered with doors that consistently open into nightmarish health scenarios. And as we try out new meds to treat a progressive autoimmune condition, the health consequences of each treatment create a new problem.
In the midst of the last seven years of illness, making lists, choosing from treatment options, and constantly playing a losing game of medical “Wack-A-Mole,” I forgot about one of the first diagnoses that left doctors scratching their heads: osteoporosis: at age 23. Not osteopenia, but full-grown osteoporosis, leaving my bones more like sponges or honeycombs than strong parts of a skeletal system.
At age 23, on the operating table with my femoral head (hip) broken all the way through due to a season of increased mileage in running, I barely escaped a total hip replacement my senior year of college.
Is it crazy that one forgets that she has honeycomb bones in the hustle of an onslaught of new diagnoses, some more familiar, others rare and obscure, and all, offering me the opportunity to grow bitter; Or to learn about the world of silver linings, of relentless Eucharist and gratitude, the life-saving art of reframing, and the beautifully diffusing nature of laughter in the face of sorrow and loss.
This time, in mid-October of 2020, with two new fractures in my right ankle, strict rules dictate my current life marked by rigid immobilization.
In a life that keeps marching on, never pausing for my brokenness, I am finding myself out of ideas for silver linings; I am flat out angry.
My bones don’t break because of injury. They break because they simply can’t bear the weight anymore. At this point, my soul feels similar to my fractured bones in my right ankle.
And so, I sit in the aftermath, tired of having to be resilient, tired of trying to re-frame. I’m tired of a broken body. I’m weary of layers of restrictions more than those found on an onion.
I’m tired of pretty pictures and potent pain.
And in my exhaustion, I lay my head on my pillow, breathe into the throbbing of the two cracks on either side of my ankle, and trust that God still has me in His strong unbreakable hand:
Even when I’m grumpy;
Even when I can’t create a pretty frame for this new broken place.
So for tonight, I let Him hold me, just as I am, fragile, raw, and angry. My brokenness will not break Him. Nothing can.