09 February 2015


Three weeks ago Saturday I broke my leg. 

The first thing I could think to write on my Facebook wall was: "So I broke my leg . . . it was awesome!"

Because, you see, awesome was how I felt.

However, I quickly found out that awesome wasn't the way other people thought I should feel.

One thought breaking my leg was somehow a cry for help. A few thought my demeanor wasn't normal; they expected I should be a shambles with tears coursing down my face. Several more thought happiness had no place in any situation were an appendage was damaged. 

Despite naysayers, my feeling of awesomeness prevailed. 

And here's why . . .

I love dogs. I love dog sledding, and my dogs (two Siberian Huskies and one German Shepherd) crave running in the snow. Even when there's little or no snow, I still want to be out with my dogs. So I exercise them with a Swiss Bike Board, a scooter of sorts with hand brakes, that they pull. My daughter and I have taken our dogs and boards down steep mountainsides and on rocky trails. The feeling of working with the dogs and being out in nature is exhilarating. 

The day I broke my leg I didn't have time for a trip to the mountains. I decided to take the dogs for a quick run around a few city blocks on the pavement -- something I've done numerous times before. 

The day was sunny and beautiful. The dogs were energetic and happy; I was happy. The accident happened so fast I didn't have time to react: a neighbor's dog ran out into the street and began to chase my dog, Oakleigh. Oak turned sharply to the left to respond to the barking of the other dog. When she veered, the bike board went with her. I, however, kept going straight -- for a millisecond -- until I hit the pavement. I heard my leg snap. I looked down and saw my foot bent at an odd angle back up against my leg. I didn't like that! So I reached down and tugged my leg back into alignment and used my cell phone to call for help. 

And I felt awesome. Translated: thankful to be alive and grateful my injuries weren't any worse. 

Oak had been giving it her all, traveling, we estimated, at least 20 mph. I wasn't wearing a helmet; I'd been in too much of a hurry to get outside and neglected to put on my protective gear. I hit the pavement hard, landing on my elbow. 

But my elbow wasn't broken. 

I sat there and smiled. 

I was alive. 

Over the years I'd heard of people who'd had simple accidents -- a fall off a chair or simply tipping over on their bicycle -- and died immediately. I remembered all my friends, my age and younger, who had passed away suddenly, unexpectedly in the past couple of decades, with no chance to say goodbye to their families. With no chance for a second chance.

All I had was a broken leg.

So, yes, it was awesome.

I didn't want or seek or yearn for a broken leg. But given other options of more serious injury, I'm okay with it. It is challenging, frustrating, and cumbersome. Recovery will take awhile; it will be a couple of months before I'm back on the bike board. 

But I've learned much.

My priorities have come sharply into focus. For instance, pre-accident I had this habit of dusting -- everything. Way too often. Now with three weeks dust on things and life still going on I'm wondering, "Why the heck did I spend so much time dusting?"

And there were so many things I simply, plainly took for granted. Being able to run. Being able to do anything, anytime I wanted when I wanted. Being able to wiggle all ten of my toes, five of which are presently a bit stiff and swollen. 

Can I just tell you how much love and giddy appreciation I now I have for my toes? 

Try and go without five of yours for awhile and see if you don't feel the same.

I'm also getting a chance to see what I'm really made of. I have the choice -- yes, the wonderful choice -- of staying down and feeling bad for myself OR taking stock of all I can still do. I have the choice to make friends with my weaknesses -- the physical and the emotional -- and figure out how to turn them into strengths. And the choice to celebrate each and every strength I have, physical and emotional, and express gratitude. 

I'm also grateful for the awesomeness of those I know who have given me support and encouragement. I've seen how others can cheer me on and uplift me by themselves showing gratitude for life, having faith in God and his purposes, and believing in my capabilities -- instead of telling me I should just sit down and quit. 

So awesome? Yes! And I don't apologize for feeling that way.

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