Two years ago today a big chunk of my reality changed.
As my seven readers might know, on March 18, 2019 I was involved in some kind of skiing accident which left me in one hospital for ten days and another hospital for five weeks. Nope, I don’t have the slightest idea what happened on the mountain. Yep, I got to ride in a helicopter. Nope, I don’t remember the helicopter ride. Yep, I’d like to go for another flight in a helicopter someday, but without the trauma.
The effects of that trauma still remain. They’ve diminished over the past two years, but my mobility is still limited.
I count myself ridiculously lucky to be able to walk. And I wish it was easier to walk without limping. And as much as I dislike running, I wish I could.
I love that I can go up and down stairs. And I wish that I didn’t have to focus on every single step I take going up and down. But I still take the stairs instead of the escalator most of the time.
I feel like being able to work out in a gym setting like I used to is life-giving. And I lament having lost capacity across all exercise categories. Still, I’m gonna do what I’ve been doing in the gym for the past eight years, which is simply working on getting fitter tomorrow than I am today.
Maybe more than all the other physical realities, I’m really stoked that I can still ride bikes.
But physicality, while it’s really important, is only one small part of reality. Over the past two years, I’ve been able to explore my sense of self within the context of physicality. And I’ve also been able to do the same within the contexts of love in relationship; and family; and community; and vocation. And I’ve come to realize that I win.
Vocation: The congregation I was serving as pastor surrounded me with so much prayer and care that I was overwhelmed (and that support was both related and unrelated to my injury). And the congregation I started serving as pastor almost one year ago has accepted me without reservation, entirely unrelated to my physical circumstance. Also (and this should be obvious), people of all different physical abilities can be pastors.
Community: In addition to the folks who are connected to the congregations where I’ve been a pastor, there are lots of other people who stepped up and surrounded me and my family with support and encouragement and help. The fitnessing community, the music community, and the friends community were all invaluable to me for a variety of reasons … mostly just helping to keep me mentally and emotionally stable.
Family: My parents, children, step-children, and extended family have all treated me with the right amount of care and concern that was balanced by just enough sarcasm and name-calling that I felt as normal as possible over these two years.
Love in Relationship: I don’t know where I would be right now if I didn’t get to be part of an amazing relationship based in mutual love and respect. I’ve thought about it, and I’m entirely certain that I would be much worse off if Nicole and I weren’t together through what feels like a circus of continually
confusing chaos (much of which has almost nothing to do with any Spinal Cord Injury). Even more, it is really joyful and life-giving to be able to journey through the adventure that is life with someone who I enjoy adventuring with.
It’s been two years as of today since a big chunk of my reality changed. Sure, I have physical limitations as a result of the incident two years ago. And sure, sometimes those physical limitations are frustrating. But that incident is only one part of my story, and certainly not the most important part. Having broken myself while skiing two years ago doesn’t define me. I am defined to a much greater degree by embracing and being embraced by those who love me.