Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hallelujah: I am now mobile! I can get around on my own- for the most part- with no assistance from any kind of...contraption. Being able to carry my own bowl of oatmeal in my own hands to my own chair was such a joy- I missed the independence so badly. The comfort of being able to be a little more self-sufficient was like meeting an old friend after a long separation. I still can't drive, but I can go up and down stairs by myself. The ability to go into rooms that I hadn't entered in over two months was weird, I have to say.

Negotiating the stairs is a little tricky. In order to master them on two feet I, once again, consulted my PT friend. I was worried that she would get annoyed by my questions; I felt like I needed to somehow "work in" the need for her professional opinion and instruction. (in reality, nothing is further from the truth- she totally answered all questions with joy) 
The conversation, texted I think, went sort-of like this.
Me: How are you?
Her: Fine, you?
Me: Fine. Sold two more tickets for the Simulcast.
Her: Great!
Me: So I may be able to go up the stairs! (I am so subtle!)
Her: Awesome. Up with the good, down with the bad.
Me: Thanks!

Well, it wasn't exactly like that, but almost. "Up with the good, down with the bad." Because I am a klutz and a visual learner, I also relied on YouTube. And while I am in the mood to type, let me say this about YouTube PT instructions: Hey, why don't you use people who are actually INJURED on there?? How about putting a person on there whose foot is wrapped up like a football and has four incisions and a rod and they are on mind-altering drugs to dull the pain and cause blurred vision? How about that? Let's see that instead of the clear-headed semi-professional athlete assisted by the calm voice of authority in pink scrubs. The therapists all look like they just did another marathon last week and they are clearly full weight-bearing and not struggling with any kind of impairment. On a good day, I could pop up and down the steps on one foot. Even with the obvious healthy person giving the instructions, the mantra from both, it seems, is in agreement: begin the ascent of the stairs with the good foot, and the descent with the bad one. 

Sounds simple enough. I begin my trek upstairs with my Good Foot. You know, the non-surgically altered, beat up, swollen, tender, red and pathetic one. Since so much of the pain has subsided, I have to remind myself to do this. It's pretty easy to remember if I look down: it's the one with the post op shoe on it that is about a size and a half too big now that I no longer look like I have a cartoon foot. I have to be careful of it because it is such a big shoe (they wanted it to extend over the rod and I thank them so much for that).  So, gathering up my bravery, I whisper my mantra to myself: Up with the good. Up with the good.

Up with the good.
Reminds me of Scripture, you know? I think of Paul's letter to the church at Philippi. His brothers and sisters whom he loved so much were in conflict. They were hurting, angry, and in need of kind guidance. In Philippians 4:8, Paul writes, "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." He may have just said "Up with the good," except Paul was a lot more eloquent. So as I climb my stairs one at a time, I let my good foot lead the way. And I offer my bad foot that same kind guidance. I know there are still things that I cannot do. But I am careful not to dwell on those things. I think of the good, the right, the "honorable and true." I make sure that my footing is sound and sure before I move forward. I don't want to place myself in a precarious position, for I can't afford to waiver or fall. A few days ago I forgot and almost took a step up with the "bad foot." It scared me! I wasn't sure what would happen and I sure didn't want to go against my doctor's orders.

Don't you want to be like that in your walk with Christ? So afraid to go against the Father's wishes and commands that you shudder in your step when you get off the path?

When I get to the top of the stairs I am so relieved. I did it. I followed the directions and I am able to continue on my way effectively. Had I not "done the right thing" I would be unable to function properly; I may suffer a setback and end up worse off than before. Up with the good.

Now to go downstairs. Why is going down something so much more difficult? If going up is like multiplication, going down is long division. (and now you know how much I dislike math) Standing at the top of the stairs and looking down is ominous. Gravity seems to want to pull me down faster than I want to come. Oh, sure, back when I was doing this by sliding on my bottom it was a piece of cake. (it's cake actually that gave me the extra padding that made me able to do it so well on my bottom!) But now, standing there with the Big Shoe and all, Mr. Gravity wants to mess with my head a little. He phoned his friends, Doubt and Confusion and they are here for the party. Then I remember: Down with the bad. Down with the bad.

Just as God's Word manifested itself to me going up the stairs, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I need to "put down the bad." Again Paul's writing speaks to me from the book of Colossians this time. Chapter 3, beginning with Verse 5 reads:  "So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.  Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.
But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.  Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.  In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us."

Down with the bad.
I plant the foot that has been through so much firmly on the step below me. As I hold on to the rail, I bring the strong, sure foot alongside it. One step at a time. I make sure to pace myself and not to go too fast or to get ahead of myself. Or worse, to get ahead of God. I rely on Him to set my path and I would never want to stray from it, even though I sometimes do. But every time I ask Him to, He guides me back to the right direction and I can continue to try my best to do His will. Before I know it I am at the bottom of the stairs on solid, even ground. Praises go up!
I know that in time I will be able to walk up and down stairs normally. I will, Lord willing, continue to heal and to become stronger and more confident. But I hope I will remember "up with the good, down with the bad" as I continue to grow in Christ. I want to be reminded to put aside the things that do not honor my Savior and I want to ponder the things that bring Him glory. I want to be the woman He created me to be, and I want to hear that kind, gentle voice guiding me to "set my sights on the realities of heaven and to think about the things of heaven and not of the earth." I want to remember all of these things, even when I can finally wear matching shoes!

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