Physical therapy has officially ended. Friday was my last day. I have graduated, moved the physical therapy tassel, and received my degree…or at least a large co-pay bill…on my way out the door. I have been released.
I am not back to normal by any stretch of the imagination but my therapist believes that I can continue my recovery on my own now. The mobility of my ankle has increased substantially and I can walk without too much of a hitch.
It was ironic that on my last day of therapy a new guy came in on crutches, a walking boot on his right foot, and sat on the bed next to me. I asked him what happened. “Achilles rupture” was the reply.
For eight weeks I have been the only Achilles rupture patient. I have felt sort of lonely. While everyone else was rehabbing shoulders, backs, and knees, I was the only one learning to walk again on a repaired Achilles. It would have been nice to have some company. As it turns out, I at least served as a vision of hope for someone else. The therapist made a point to show him my progress as a source of encouragement. She asked me to walk back and forth across the room to show how well I could walk. For a moment, I thought I was on the runway of some fashion show. It wasn’t a long moment, for those who might be concerned.
Later, as I walked on the treadmill, I watched as the therapist started doing the initial evaluation on the guy. I watched as he tried to flex his foot. His toes were shaking. It was obvious he was straining hard. But the foot simply wasn’t moving. I remembered my own frustration trying to do the same thing just eight weeks ago. I have come a long way.
If I served as an encouragement to him, then he also served as a good reminder to myself. Sometimes I get discouraged with my progress. I can walk but I am not walking totally normal and I can’t go long distances. And the swelling around my Achilles is still very noticeable. It’s funny how easily you can forget your progress, and your blessings, and find yourself only focusing on your present hindrances. I needed the reminder to be thankful.
So now I am on my own. Each day I have to keep walking and stretching my Achilles. In May, I will be able to return to a more active running, jumping, playing lifestyle. Just in time for the summer.
Someone asked me recently, “So what was the biggest lesson you have learned through this injury?”
The answer came to me pretty quickly. “I have learned that God can take you down in a second.”
I am not saying that God snapped my Achilles. He certainly allowed it…and certainly could have used it as a way of accomplishing His purposes…many of which I may never know until eternity. (This website is one fruit of the injury and my prayer is that it is an encouragement and blessing to someone out there.)
But in my mind the Achilles injury reminded me once again that I am not as strong as I think I am. If I am ever tempted to glory in myself, to become prideful, to start thinking that I have it all together, then I know that God can bring me down in a heartbeat. It doesn’t take much. One snapped tendon is enough to drop me to my knees. And one touch of Jacob’s hip was enough to make him limp the rest of his life.
There is a universal principle repeated throughout Scripture—God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).
It is that simple. Exalt yourself and God will find ways to humble you. Humble yourself and God will find ways to lift you up.
The scar on my Achilles will forever remind me that God has made me weak and mortal so that I have to depend on Him for strength and life.