Peace in Uncertainty

It’s a quiet Saturday night here at our house – our dog Oliver is on the couch across from me and our son Calvin has finally fallen asleep. (We recently got rid of the nighttime pacifier, so bedtime has been a bit harder these days.) I have already done my scheduled two hours of grad school today, so I have a bit of time to myself – free time (what a concept!) It seemed like as good a time as any to write – so here we go.

Today marks 11 straight weeks I’ve been wearing my boot. For those who don’t know, I’ve been trying to recover from a tendon injury since mid-May – I’ve worn the boot off and on again at the recommendation of my doctors, and this 11 week stretch has been a last-ditch attempt at avoiding surgery… but it looks like surgery is imminent.

Back in April I wrote a post about how I was so proud that I had been keeping up my running habit for an entire year – I had no idea how quickly running would be something I couldn’t do – it’s crazy to think I haven’t run in over 6 months. It’s crazy what has become my new normal. The boot is just a part of me now. How long is it supposed to take to form a new habit? 2 weeks? 3 weeks? I can tell you after 11 weeks, the habit is well-ingrained. Every morning when I wake up, I pull on the boot, fasten the three velcro straps, and pump up the air to a medium firmness before I step out of bed. I sit down to take showers now, since putting all my weight on my right foot in a slippery bathtub was a bit tricky. I have a whole system now of how I get in and out of the shower without falling, all while balancing on one foot until I can get my boot back on. It’s just the new normal.

I have a friend at work who also is dealing with a foot injury. He goes to physical therapy a few times a week, and he met a woman there who slipped on a pebble and seriously fractured her foot. She has to wear a walking boot for a whole year. I mentioned to my coworker that if she had just stepped a few inches further to the right or left, she wouldn’t have slipped and had the accident. This idea has stuck with me, how such a small decision can leave such a big impact on a person’s life – how sometimes just a few seconds (or inches) is all it takes to make a difference. It’s like when you hear stories of people getting into car accidents, and you think, “wow, if they had just left their house 5 minutes later…”

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How Do You Thrive?

I recently had a conversation with a friend about the differences between surviving, living, and thriving. My friend used the phrase “abundant life” instead of thriving, but we decided that they could mean close to the same thing. 

The last three years of my life, I would say I have been in “survival mode.” What do I mean by this? I mean making it to the end of the day, but not being sure if I can do it again tomorrow. I mean being tired all the time, wondering how many more minutes there are in the day before I can lie down. I mean getting the bare minimum done and not having time for things that might be fun or life-giving. Doing the urgent-only stuff, not getting to make time for stuff that is important. 

That sounds pretty bleak when I describe it like that. And okay, not every moment of the past three years has been like that, but there’s certainly been seasons like that, and when you’re in times like that, they seem to last forever. I may have walked the line between surviving and living, but I certainly don’t think I’ve made it to “thriving” very often in the past three years.

Three and a half years ago I had a baby, and obviously life has been different ever since. Two and a half years ago I started a new career, and a few months after that, I began online graduate school. I’ve been getting by, pushing myself farther than I thought I could go, being braver than I thought I could be, but it’s been very tiring. 

As I near the end of my graduate program, I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I’m starting to wonder if I could move into a time of thriving. What would that look like?

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