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…”

Of course this can work in the positive sense too – I think about meeting my husband, Dean. We met in the cafeteria the first day of our freshman year of college – we ended up sitting at the same table, he with his group of friends and me with mine. I didn’t know it at the time that this random choice of where to sit would mean life-altering things for my future, but it did. Such a small choice, with such big consequences.

We can trick ourselves into thinking it would be nice to know the future, to be able to avoid tragedies and injuries and sources of pain. Or maybe we don’t wish we could know the future as much as we wish we could change the past. Either way, this kind of thinking is pointless. I’m reading a book right now called Think Good by J.L. Gerhardt, and she talks about how so much of our time is spent worrying about the future or lamenting the past, that we miss out on the present. When discussing the future, she points out that

You’re not supposed to know. And while that may seem scary, there’s peace in knowing that’s the plan.

When we come to terms with the fact that we can’t know the future and we can’t control what happens to us, we can “stop trying so hard and start trusting God with the mystery.” I think I’m beginning to understand how peace can come from this, from letting go of the immense burden of pretending to control more than we really do.

Right now, foot surgery is looming in my future – probably for sometime in February. It’s definitely been disappointing, and has required me to alter some of my plans I had made for the year ahead. And I still don’t really know if running will ever get to be a part of my future again, that’s way too far ahead to really be thinking about right now. So in the meantime, I’ll try to be more appreciative of things I do have in the present, and allow my faith to grow in these times of uncertainties.

Thanks for reading!


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