Last month, our family went through a trauma. Sorta.
My wonderful mother-in-law, Faith, was buying shoes for my nephew’s wedding. And, well, you know how it is. You’re at the mall. You spot cute shoes. You try on cute shoes. You feel unstable because your feet aren’t accustomed to new shoes.
Faith took a half step, lost her balance and BOOM! Faith hit the tile floor with all of her weight, breaking her femur and humerus in the fall.
I’ve had broken bones. Lord knows I have… but I’ve never broken a hip and a shoulder at the same time. Her pain was just enormous, as you’d imagine. Orthopedic surgeons can easily repair these kinds of breaks, but rehab and recovery take a good, long while.
The Hotness and I, along with her sisters, spoke in whispers about what would happen next. We were all scared. Why? Well, in addition to the expected concerns, let me explain some stuff about my mother-in-law…
Ever been at a no holds barred birthday party for a kid? When kiddos are screaming and running and jumping and yelling, old farts like me sit on the sidelines. And we say stuff like, “Must be nice to have that much energy!” as we get hit in the head by a flying pinata or a piece of cake.
That’s the same thing I say when I’m around my mother-in-law. The Hotness calls her the Energizer Bunny. She simply does not stop. She is always, always doing something. Whether it’s administration for the Bible school she and her late husband founded, or it’s a globe trotting world tour, or managing her real estate business, or speaking and preaching at conferences around the world; Faith Does. Not. Stop.
But, we wondered, what if this injury put an end to those things she loves? Would she be able to bounce back from these dual breaks? It would be soul crushing to see Faith’s life diminished in any way. She’s just not the rocking chair type.
Well, we shouldn’t have wondered. Not with her personality and tenacity. She went from injury through two surgeries, hospitalization and rehab in (can you believe this?) less than three weeks. I was pretty amazed, but not truly surprised.
Faith’s story – her entire life – is one of resilience. But, there are multiple stories going on here. Like I said, Faith had the physical trauma, but her family witnessed her pain. Seeing someone you love who is in pain is so, so difficult. Wondering if someone you love will be changed forever takes a toll on the soul. And, as you may have personally experienced, coordinating care at home is also a full-time job. Becoming a medical coordinator, managing schedules and arranging details. It is a lot. When there is a hurt, that pain often spiderwebs out to touch many people.
Right now, our family is getting through this acute trauma. And, we’re all doing well. We are incredibly fortunate. Faith’s influence and guidance has trickled down to create solid, functional and loving family relationships. Getting through difficulties is so much easier on everyone when there is a team approach.
Right along with Faith’s trauma, I cannot help but think of this traumatic experience our country is going through. It’s been a year. We are all depleted. Even the promise of getting somewhat back to normal feels a little off. How are we, as a society, going to move on? Well, much like with family, there has to be a coming together. There has to be grace and good will extended to the friends and neighbors from whom we’ve been isolated. It’s going to take some degree of understanding that emotionally, collectively, this is gonna take longer to heal than broken bones. A recognition that people have suffered injuries, some we may not see, or even be aware of… but they need gentleness. And we do as well.
Our entire world has been delivered a huge, huge trauma. And traumatic recovery takes time. As we re-enter a new reality, let’s take with us the understanding that our friends and neighbors, our countrymen and strangers, our families and foes - everyone is also figuring out how to navigate things. When we approach this new era, let’s do so with more empathy and strength and kindness than we had before. I think we might find more resilience than we ever dreamed we had.