“Okay, I’ve been running this race a loooooong time… where is my finish line?!” I think this to myself as I look at the calendar and see that it’s been 10 months of physical recovery since the car accident. Right now I’m in “the middle” of my recovery and it’s been a difficult season of physical pain. Even before the car accident I have always wanted to get to the finish lines quickly. I’m not sure why I’m always in SUCH a hurry… because when I do finally finish one race it seems I am then flung into the next season of my life and I am again asking the same question “when will this race be over?!”
Okay okay, you can laugh at me, but I have a feeling I’m not the only person who has done this ;). Many of us are in the middle of a tough season of our lives. For some of us this season might be boring and we are ready for the next adventurous season to arrive. For others, our season is anything but boring and we are ready for it to calm down so we can have a restful season. No matter what race you are in the middle of, you may be asking the question “when will this be over.” I’ve learned that asking this question never brings the finish line any closer to us. So what do we do while we are in the middle of a loooong season of our lives waiting for the finish line to arrive? We don’t wait, we live.
When we are so focused on getting to tomorrow we miss out on everything that is happening today. I know, today may be boring, it may be tough, and maybe you don’t even want to remember today because it is such a dreadful time in life. But we are never really living our lives if we are always waiting for tomorrow. The truth is that we will never live in the past, and we will never live in the future. We will always be living in the now—we will always be living in today. So let’s not use today waiting for tomorrow. Let’s soak in everything today, and not let another day end without living it as if it were our last.
I am personally in the middle of a physical recovery during this season of my life. 10 months ago I was driving home from work and while my car was at a stop another car hit me at full speed and flew my car several hundred feet forward and I immediately blacked out. When I was hit my head was thrown forward and then back into my headrest. I damaged several parts of my body in the accident, but the traumatic brain injury (TBI) I received from the accident has by far been the most difficult to recover from. This TBI has affected my vision, my equilibrium, my ability to eat, my ability to reason and plan and many other areas. In the beginning of my recovery my vision was so badly damaged that I couldn’t see much accept for blurred colorful shapes that looked like they were moving. I could not recognize myself in a mirror, I could not stand without passing out, I could barely eat without help. I couldn’t walk. I had difficulty focusing and comprehending what other people were saying. I had trouble with communication. I would think one thing, but something different would come out of my mouth, and I had absolutely no control over it! On top of all of my disabilities, I was in severe pain.
I didn’t think that recovering would be a “season” of my life. I thought I would be better and back to normal after two weeks. After two weeks went by I thought it would be a month. After that month went by I thought it would be two months. After two months went by I decided to be more realistic and accept that it might be 6 months of recovery. But when I reached 6 months I finally gave up on giving myself a time frame. It has now been 10 months and I have healed in many areas, but I am still not back to normal. I can now communicate and think clearly most of the time. My vision has improved, and I can clearly see the world again. However, my vision is still impaired because the floor, the wall, and everything around me looks like it is shaking or moving towards me and that makes it hard to walk. Also, my equilibrium is off. I can’t walk much farther than 30 ft without falling down or blacking out, so I am pushed in a wheelchair if it is going to be farther than 30 ft. And after 10 months I am still in bed every day because my pain is too severe to be able to move much. Sometimes the pain gets so bad that I can’t even speak (and anyone that knows me knows it takes a lot to get me to stop talking ;)).
I have no longer put a time frame on when I will reach the finish line of my recovery. I have accepted that this is a season of my life. Yes, I believe that God can heal me in a second and this season would be over. I still think He could do that and one day I will wake up and be completely normal! But whether that happens or not I am not going to wait to live my life until I am fully recovered. I am going to live and enjoy today to its fullest. Yes, I am limited by what I can do physically, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the best of what I have. I choose to thank God for this time off of work and school and away from distractions. I wake up every morning and thank God for saving my life, for letting me know Him, for giving me today, and for healing me in the areas I have made progress in. Since my amazing mother is the one nursing me back to health, I am thankful for the time I get to spend with her every day. She is a blessing to me and I am thankful that our friendship has grown even deeper during my recovery. I am also thankful for the support and love I have had from my other family members and friends since the accident.
I can’t participate in many of the activities that I would normally join my friends and family with. I can’t go for a walk, have a BBQ in the backyard, or go bowling. I can’t go out to eat, go for a swim, or even go to their houses. I can’t even be in the room with more than 2 or 3 of them without my brain shutting down and my body going into severe pain because the stimulation of that many people is too much for my injured brain to handle. But I have had quality time with all of them one-on-one that I probably would not have had if I wasn’t stuck in bed. I enjoy the time I get to spend with the Lord every day. Reading His word (now that I can read) listening to sermons, soaking in His spirit, and letting Him convict me of the areas of my life I need to work on. I get to pick up new hobbies (on my better physical days) like playing the guitar (something I wouldn’t have had time for if I weren’t stuck in bed recovering). And I get to journal and blog to you guys about the lessons I’m learning.
Sure it isn’t an adventurous season. It probably wouldn’t be a season anybody would choose to be in if they heard about the disabled life I live and the pain I suffer from everyday. But it is the season of life that I am in and I choose to live it. I can’t live my life waiting for the next season. Near the beginning of this recovery I was only focused on the new plans I had for my life once I recovered. But instead of just focusing on what I will do when I am recovered, I am now focusing on what I am learning and growing in during this season of my life :).
One day I will be back to my normal healthy self, and when that day comes I will know that I reached the finish line of my recovery. When that day comes I will make goals and plans for that season and make the most of those days. I don’t know when the finish line will come for my recovery, but I no longer am waiting for the finish line—I am just running the race!
As always if you need a friend to talk to or pray for you during this time of your life feel free to contact me at my personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org