After pump class last Friday morning I complained to Cyndi about the new shoulder workout track, and how they expect us to bounce up and down, from pushups on the floor to standing barbell presses. They repeat the pattern two or three times; it feels like doing burpees. I’ve never enjoyed that sort of exercise – I want to stay up when I am up, or stay down on the floor when I am down. And now, since I am still babying my new knees, it takes me even longer to move from standing to floor, back to standing, and back to floor.
Cyndi agreed with my complaint, and then she said, “Well, you are slow at transitions.”
It occurred to me she meant more than exercise routines in the gym. I think she was tapping into the truth that I am slow at all of life’s transitions.
What I mean by life’s transitions are those unstable intervals when we cross from something familiar to something unfamiliar. Most are small and pass by unnoticed. Some, however, are major disruptions and force us to re-examine our values and lifestyle.
This summer has been one of those major disruptions, one that was planned and anticipated, but I’m ready for it to be finished. The good news is, I have new knees and my joint pain is gone. The (temporary) bad news is that I still have muscle pains and stiffness from the surgery, making it hard to find a comfortable position to sleep.
I expect those pains to go away, and in fact they are receding. I feel much better this week than last, and I know I will feel even better next week. I can feel the transition happening as it happens.
It’s just that I want to feel better right now. I want to get on my bike and ride for two hours. I want to go to the mountains and hike up Tejas Trail with my backpack on my back.
I have to remind myself that what I went through was not a minor procedure. When I look at the disappearing scar on my knees it is easy to forget that only a few weeks ago they used power tools and angle grinders and tourniquets to, as Cyndi reminds me, “cut off my leg,” and reassemble it with new parts. It was major surgery and that sort of thing takes a while to heal.
I am being impatient because I can imagine a brighter future, one that I’ve only dreamed about for years, and now I’m ready to get on with it.
However, at the same time, I don’t want to waste this transition period. Moments of change and transition should never be ignored. Most of the time, our lives are too crowded and rushed to hear from God; it is during those intervals of upheaval when our heart is softest.
Transitions are gifts, opportunities to lean forward into the future and open our hearts to a fresh new word from God. And so, as I continue this long transitional essay, my prayer for you and for me is the same: Don’t let these times of change pass you by. Listen to God.
Well, I wrote this journal on Wednesday, before I had my first post-op visit with my doctor on Thursday. It went well, and he was happy with my progress. He told me I could take my bike outside as long as I didn’t ride more than twenty minutes at a time for at least two more weeks.
But he reminded me that the deep, inner stitches that I can’t see, take eight weeks to heal completely. Meaning my right knee is ready, but my left knee is only 50% healed. Meaning no matter how good I feel, or ready to move on with active life, I must go easy so healing can occur and I don’t tear myself apart.
Maybe some transitions take longer than we want because we need the time for the deep inner stitches, the ones we can’t see, to heal. Deep healing takes longer.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32