My sister had a series of hamsters when we grew up. I don’t remember how many. I actually don’t remember much besides the smell of the cage, and the wheel they used to run in. They never seemed to tire of it, and each spent long periods of their day there. Maybe it’s because they were caged with few other options. Maybe they didn’t know any better.
Regardless, I’ve thought about those hamsters a lot lately.
I feel very much like we live on the wheel. Every day is centered around executing a well-oiled machine where an insane amount of activities, assignments, and appointments fit into a tiny window. So at an early hour we hop into the wheel in a sense, and we run all day.
When you’re in the wheel you may think about nothing except for the next task. Or you may wonder if there is a better way to get through the day. You may long for a break from the routine and the schedule. You may wonder what you’d do if…
We are chronically busy. Sometimes out of necessity and sometimes by design. Sometimes, in the case of those of us with chronic illness it is a little of both.
In my house we are busily maintaining health, through frequent appointments and therapies. We are also busy trying to fit a regular life around it. There is constant motion.
Until there isn’t.
I spent so many moments wishing I could take things a little slower. I wished I could have some time, for a full nights sleep, to clean my house the way I want it, to visit with friends, to take long walks, and…
And now I’m here.
A January foot injury at work has morphed into a monster that refuses to heal. Stress and strain and alternate gait patterns protecting the original injury continue to set the healing process in the wrong direction. A stress fracture of the cuboid bone continued to worsen. It’s now my first official “fracture.”
It is time for me to pause.
This time there is no rushing out of the boot. There is no making believe its all ok. There is waiting. Resting. Minimal weight bearing. There will be additional imaging to clear the healing before I head to physical therapy. There are only very short car trips to doctor’s appointments and to transport my girl.
I am here. In my house. Alone.
And it sounded to heavenly when I was dreaming about it in the middle of the chaos of the day to day.
Now it sounds a lot like the tick-tock of the clock hanging over my head.
It feels a lot different when I have to let someone else teach my students.
It is not as productive as I’d hoped, since all the cleaning and sorting and organizing I promised myself if I ever had time is currently off limits with the whole restricted movement thing.
It is a battle not to let my head overthrow me with its worry about “real” Cowden’s issues that may at any point smack us in the face. It is tough not to think about the backlog of surgeries that will come, but have now been placed in triage.
And yet I have to make a choice.
There was a very inspirational GoalCast in my Facebook feed this morning.
And I’d encourage you to watch it if you have a moment.
Her life was way more challenging than mine. Yet she made a choice that I still struggle with sometimes.
These last few months without the proper use of my feet have often left me battling depression. I do not have it all together, or have an inspirational message as this young woman left behind in her short time on earth.
What I do know is if I choose to wallow in this I will miss the “pause” that has been placed in front of me.
Instead I will make the conscious choice to make what I can do, more fulfilling.
I am going to try to write a lot more. I am going to have some people visit. I am going to handle a few “sitting down projects” that are in my path. I am going to open the windows and appreciate the fall weather even if I can’t walk in it this year.
I’m going to look at my orchids, and their beauty and crazy, stubborn irregularities that make them magical for me.
I am giving small pieces of my life back to reflectiveness and prayer and simple mindfulness.
Someone took the wheel out of my cage.
For however long it’s gone, it’s on me to decide how to view it.
If you take the time to watch the link above you’ll understand when I say today I am looking to add some lights and a few throw pillows.
This is not easy. If you’re reading this you likely go through hard things too.
I am a work in progress. Thankfully God’s not finished with me yet.
I’ll be here with my feet up.
This too will pass eventually.