Today I’m celebrating two years of healing from a spinal injury incurred while rock climbing in Tennessee. Two years feels equally like a nanosecond and the entirety of my life- April 4th, 2016 was certainly a day that marked a tangible rift in my timeline.
Although I existed for 25 years with a perfectly healthy back, I can't seem to recall what that felt like. Backbends, flopping down on a couch, standing for long periods of time, and falling, from either clumsiness or playfulness, are things I took for granted until they became difficult or had heavier consequences. On the days I’m in pain, I get scared that it won’t subside, and I worry about how bad it could be in the future. A friend recently related the same thought to her experience with depression- in the moment it can feel like the pendulum will never swing the other way again, and joy has abandoned you forever. I’m learning to trust that gravity will keep its promise and pull us back to center in due time.
Trauma brings perspective, which often brings pain, which certainly sharpens awareness. And maybe that’s the word I feel at the two year mark: Aware. Aware of how different my life could be, aware of my own emotional pendulum, in awe of the resilience of our flesh, bones, and muscles. I’m aware of the gift of simply living, which propels me to live more simply. The process to loosen my grip around things beyond my control continues.
I continue to say: Thank you God, for this day. Thank you God, for this body. Help me to steward it well.
Last year I wrote a reflection on paying attention. You can read that here.