One of the biggest challenges of unexpected elbow surgery was finding something to wear after the fact. While I had an abundance of easy-to-pull on sweatpants to cover the bottom half, I needed short-sleeved shirts with a button-up front, and was amazed to discover how very few I had. Even long-sleeved shirts that I wouldn't mind cutting the right arm off of were in scarce supply. My husband kindly raided his own closet, finding several old shirts and pajama tops that I could likewise alter to handle first a bulky cast and then a similarly-sized brace. While they would work for wearing around the house, I wondered what I would do about going out in public. Clearly a shopping trip was in order.
Even in the stores I found little to choose from; the stock was mostly of the pull-on variety that I couldn't yet handle. But suddenly I came across a couple of clearance items – three button-up shirts with short-sleeves that I could easily slit to slide my arm into! While they were not a style I would normally choose, at this point I couldn't be picky; they were good enough to get me through till I could wear my normal clothes once more. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something I might only wear for a short time, so I rejoiced at the savings and dumped them in the cart. As my healing progressed, so did my shopping selections; soon I was moving on to zippered items with sleeves that I could wear inside the brace. There was a little more selection here and I could almost feel my husband's growing alarm as I got more interested in the shopping process and added sports jackets and higher-quality sweatpants I discovered in the fitness sections of the stores. While my closet was filling up fast, I knew that many of the items were for short-term use only, however included in the bunch were some real finds that made even my husband smile.
My wardrobe problems were minor in the big scale of things, but they reminded me that sometimes we find ourselves woefully unprepared to handle major crises in our lives. Physically, financially, but more often emotionally and spiritually, we discover we don't have the resources to deal with trouble when it hits. After taking stock of what we have to offer, we can temporarily borrow what we need from people who are near and dear to us. But eventually we have to get for ourselves what we lack. And so we go shopping, sometimes for physical items we need in recovery, but more often for attitudes and thought patterns, mindsets that we can put on that will get us through. While some recovery aids are temporary in nature, some of our discoveries offer life-long change, and put a purpose-filled perspective on the problem that we had never before considered. Those difficulties we initially bemoaned we can now even give thanks for having gone through, so favorably have the resultant changes impacted our lives.
Sometime during the months I've been away, my employer instituted a change in the work uniform among its employees. Blue pullover polo shirts have were replaced with white button-up dress shirts and black vests, a detail that made me smile. My thinking on some things has likewise been challenged and changed; new clothes on the outside will remind me that I'm returning to work wearing new thought patterns, as well.
“...but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God...”
(Romans 12:2 AMP)