Have you ever hurt yourself, severely enough that it hampered your ability to function to a small or large extent? Injuries are an interesting thing. At the very moment, you see all the things that you will not be able to do. While you are going through the process of discovering the extent of the injury, it can feel overwhelming the adjustments that you might have to make for a short, or extended period of time. Some people don’t ever totally heal from injuries, physically or mentally, not because they couldn’t regain ability, but because they choose not to proceed through the process required for healing.
I recently experienced an injury, well, I injured myself years ago, and didn’t realize the extent of the injury at the time. I didn’t go get it checked because I really didn’t have any more problems at the time. Have you ever noticed how when you are young, you can bounce back from injuries really quickly, but as you age, those same injuries sometimes come back to haunt you? That was the case here. I injured my rotator cuff 7 or 8 years ago, and unbeknownst to me, it didn’t heal correctly. Recently I had an inflammation problem and because of the calcium growth and the swelling, my rotator cuff started to get pinched, and as it was being pinched, it swelled more and more. My arm became almost unusable because of the pain when I would move it.
I hate going to the doctor but didn’t know what was wrong. When I lost almost all mobility in my arm because of pain I finally went to find out what was going on. That is when we discovered the old injury and the abnormal calcium growth where my body had “tried” to heal the tear in my rotator cuff. It’s interesting what my mind did ahead of that visit. I had thought it might be dislocated, maybe I had pinched nerves in my neck, maybe I had a bone spur, maybe I would need surgery, how would that affect my life? How would I adjust my schedule and responsibilities to accommodate? It is amazing what the mind will do when left without concrete answers and understanding. As soon as I found out what was going on and understood the process of healing, all those crazy ideas and thoughts were relieved, and I was able to make a plan.
It is always amazing to me what a difference it makes to have information. I have not had very many injuries or illnesses in my life, but I have learned how to take care of my body a little bit better each time. But the healing process doesn’t just occur, especially the older we get. Each injury that I have had has taken a concerted effort to regain full mobility back. Each time I have had days where I felt great, and days where I wondered whether or not I was going to ever get back to normal.
As I have had the opportunity to go to the doctor and physical therapist however, I have learned new things about joint, bones, and how my body works. Each injury makes me more aware of how to take care of my body. Each time I work to recover from and injury I actually recover to a better state than I was before I was injured. That is because I have been given and internalized new and better information. I have learned and applied what I was being told and taught about how to heal and become better. And because of that, the risk of injury that that same area is greatly reduced.
Physical injury is not the only place to apply this principle though. There are so many times in our lives that we make mistakes, hurting ourselves and others, not necessarily physically, but mentally and socially. When we realize that we have done so, we can take one of two steps. We can decide to heal properly and in turn help others to heal if necessary, or to disregard the pain caused and continue on as if nothing happened. Continuing on seems like the path of least resistance, but if we don’t figure out how to do better and become better, we will continue to make the same mistakes and, in some situations, hurt the same people, including ourselves, over and over again. And it usually becomes worse and worse until we lose “mobility” so to speak.
Just like going to the doctor for me was super scary, admitting when we need help in less obvious ways in our lives can be very scary. But the process of caring for, and healing will ultimately make us better people, teaching us how to heal and do better in the parts of our lives where we are weak. We can learn how to reduce the risk of injury to ourselves and others when we seek out help, listen to the professionals that are there to help us, and then apply the principles taught us that were put in place to heal and/or rehabilitate the broken or injured parts of us. There are no perfect people, but there are also no problems in our lives or injuries of any kind that can’t be healed, weaknesses that can’t be overcome. Seeking help is the scariest, most courageous thing anyone can do. I am grateful for the courage to get physical help, and for the courage I see in so many people around me getting physical, emotional or psychological help. I am also grateful for the ultimate healer, my Savior Jesus Christ, and for the knowledge that no matter what, I don’t have to face any of it alone.