Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who had been married a really long time. One day, they realized they were in the most magical time of their lives so far. Some people called it “middle age”, but they just called it fun. They worked hard, played hard, and enjoyed life to the fullest. They loved to travel, and one day they went on a trip to a galaxy far, far away. They had lots of things planned on this trip, including travels to many places they had never seen before. To start the trip, the man was participating in a dirt bike race, which was his passion. Unfortunately, his race was cut short by an evil tree that jumped in front of his bike and broke his leg. After everyone in the kingdom had a look at it, it was decided he needed to be sent to another galaxy in order to get the best treatment possible.
The man and woman spent a week dazed and confused in a hospital far from home, but after two surgeries by talented magicians and many more people in the kingdom oohing and ahhing over the unusual injury, they boarded a plane meant just for them and flew back to their little nest on the hill. One more surgery awaited the man, then the healing began.
Being true believers, the man and the woman knew that there were lessons to be learned though any unfortunate experience, so in the stillness that followed, they sought the light. True to His word, He offered answers, and the first one was immediately apparent.
*Be still. The man and the woman had worked and played hard for many years, and had often filled their lives with “busyness” instead of business. The woman struggled with this more than the man, but they both shared the trait. A broken leg makes you be still in a way you never understood before. Caring for one who is temporarily disabled makes you prioritize the work in your life. Being still makes you much more able to hear God speak.
*Bad things happen to good people. Even when they’re doing everything “right”. Don’t be surprised or spend your time in anger when they happen to you. Look for the lesson, it’s somewhere close by.
*Life isn’t perfect. For every hill, there’s a valley.
*Just because you’re down, it doesn’t mean you’re out. This was a lesson for the woman. After the first few pain filled weeks, the man began to work out again, figuring out what he was able to do and setting about doing it. He went to physical therapy, did all the exercises they prescribed when he wasn’t there, even resumed his strength training to the best of his ability. The woman was awed and humbled and resolved not to whine so much about her workouts. That’s a work in in progress.
*Take time to heal. We all have events (physical, spiritual, and emotional) that are traumatic and life changing. Give yourself time to heal before you try to resume your “normal”. And, realize that sometimes, life gives us new normals.
*Take care of yourself. The man’s healing and recovery were greatly enhanced because he had spent the last years taking care of himself. Keeping his weight at a reasonable level, working out, and playing hard.
*Pursue your passion. Many people would be deterred from pursuing their passions when faced with a setback like a broken leg . But, one thing the man taught the woman through all their years together was that life is about chasing dreams. Setting the bar so high that you almost have to reinvent yourself to grab it. Going for the gold requires endurance, stamina, desire, and a little luck, but it also requires a passion. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Dream big, and work hard.
*Choose joy. Life is full of hard things. Illness, injury, brokenness, even death. Those things are part of our walk, and if we allow them to, they’ll suck us under. Joy is a life decision that has to be made every day, sometimes every moment of every day. That doesn’t mean walking around grinning like an idiot, it just means that you choose to persevere through the trials and emerge victorious on the other side.
The end of the story is still being written. With God’s blessing, there should be many more years of magic. As the new year dawns, the man and the woman are still learning the lessons of the leg and are limping into the future hand in hand.