Thursday, April 30, 2015

At the ZENITH of my Elbow Experience

The month of April has reached its zenith, and with this last letter, so too has the annual A to Z Challenge. How fitting it is that having finished my scheduled physical therapy sessions and now back at work, my Elbow Experience has reached its highest point, as well. From my fall on the icy parking lot forward, everything in the last three to four months has been geared towards the moment when I would punch in again at the time clock at work and resume my regular duties.

Things are different now at work, and it has nothing to do with the fact that a few old friends have left and new employees have signed on. It isn't a result of the new uniforms we are wearing now or the new policies that have been put in place; the difference is in me. I can see some things now that I probably would never have noticed before had this intervention of sorts not taken place. I realize now how tired I was, physically and emotionally, an exhaustion that expressed itself in a lack of patience for others and a lack of appreciation for the blessings that cover my life. Habitual ways of doing things had me locked into a schedule and an outlook that had no room for a new view. While I was successfully making it through my days, I was living on a much lower scale than what God had planned for my life. I am forever grateful for the upgrade into a higher level of thinking and living that my arm injury provided.

But now the difficulty is in keeping the fresh outlook on things. I knew coming in to work that if I wasn't careful, the novelty of being back on the job would wear off, and it would be easy to slip back into old ways of thinking and doing things; I didn't want to lose the lessons of the past months. Awareness that such a danger exists is perhaps the greatest asset in preventing its occurrence.

One of the biggest struggles I had in my physical recuperation was maintaining the progress we achieved in my physical therapy sessions. After an hour of work and manipulation, my therapist was always able to open my arm to a degree that I hadn't been able to achieve before. We just weren't able to maintain that success; the muscles in my arm wanted to pull back into the position they'd been in for so long. At each session we seemed to start off back at the same point; it was hard to gain ground.

Finally we made progress when Nick came up with the idea of locking my arm in the straight position in the brace at the end of the session, when it had opened up has far as he could get it to go. For two hours I kept it in “lockdown”, after which I was free to remove the hardware and let my arm function without it. In addition I became more intentional than ever in keeping up with the stretching exercises I was doing at home, and gradually we have seen the muscles become accustomed to increased motion and function once more.

Similarly, my new mindset and approach to life and my job can only be maintained through diligent effort on my part. I am grateful for the Challenge of writing the lessons down, because doing so has locked them down not just on paper where I can regularly review them, but also in my mind. But I have to intentionally practice the new ways of thinking and doing to make them the new norm and prevent my mind from slipping into old mindsets without my being aware that it is even happening.

Mostly I am overwhelmed with gratitude, that God knew what I needed when I was blind to it myself, and used the opportunity my injury afforded to elbow His way into my life, restoring not just my arm, but also my mind and heart.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only...”
(James 1:22 NKJV)

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like God has taught you so much through your injury. I love how God uses our toughest trials to make us stronger. I also must learn to remain diligent in keeping a positive mindset on life.

    Congrats on making it through A to Z! Even though you weren't officially participating, I have enjoyed meeting you through the challenge and look forward to your future posts :)


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