Grace, the ever-present companion

I just did my first set of physical therapy exercises that actually had me putting full weight down on a foot that hasn’t walked in 10 weeks. After a night of throbbing pain -to let me know I’m alive – it was clear: now, the hard work is going to begin. Friday, going in to PT, I was ecstatic – I could lean into the walker and take some steps in my boot. Not REAL first steps – I won’t count first steps as such until I can do it on my own 2 feet unaided.

Then, while at physical therapy, she said it was time to practice a step forward – one only – and then back on the same foot, teaching my ankle and foot to bend in all the right places after being immobilized for so long. I had thought – wrongly – no problem since I conquered standing on both feet.

So wrong. Oh, so wrong.

The foot is an amazing part of our body with many muscles, tendons, cartlidges and moving parts to coordinate working in harmony with each other and everything else that works it’s way on up the leg.

That step forward almost had me fall because it wasn’t use to the bending motion. If I hadn’t been holding on . . . baby, go Boop! The floor I would have met. Somehow I don’t think it hurt this much when I was learning to walk the first time around as a baby . . .

So, now, on this early Saturday morning, after a long night of knowing I’m alive -again, thanks to throbbing pain – I don’t even want to think about doing PT and inviting pain out to play. I did the procedure to “stop” pain after all. But this is the way forward . . .

I do the simple exercises first (note to self: now they hurt, too) and then head to my kitchen where I can hang onto the countertop as I practice stepping back-and-forth.

I see black and a swirling pit opening beneath my feet to suck me down into the pit of despair. This feels like I did when I went to the doctor. Did the surgery fail? I tell myself it feels the same but it isn’t the same pain. This is “getting to know you again” and “waking up” and “becoming a team player” pain.

Still… My emotions swirl and thunderclouds start to darken my face. I know if I focus my attention there, tears will come and I’ll go somewhere inside I don’t want to go.

I grab the counter for the final exercise, holding onto it as I step sideways all the way around the U-shape of my countertop and back five times. Ouch. Yuck. Limp. Don’t want to do it. Sweat.

My eyes land on a mug sitting at eye level on the shelf. It’s one of me with my mother. She’s smiling, laughing, and joyful.

In that moment, I choose. I remind myself that she faced cancer and heart problems with a smile and a gentle spirit. I have neither problem. I have a good heart and health. I only have a recovery to get through to walk again. Why am I whining? She faced way more than me with trust, humor, prayer and a fierce spirit.

I lock my eyes onto her face. I focus on her and breathe as I do my laps. Painful? Yes. Tough? Absolutely. But I can do this. I’m her daughter. She’s still my teacher and my example. And she taught me that an attitude can change many a trial if you have faith and hope.

Today, she is my gratitude. Her presence helped me to cling to gratitude when I could have easily gone down the slippery slope of self-pity.

When our eyes are open and we LOOK for help, we find it. Grace is an ever-present companion ready to help and support us.

Psalm 23:6, Psalm 139:5-6

Think about your day – maybe it was ordinary, maybe it was tough. Where can you spot grace in the moment that made it bearable? Transformed it? Brought out a beauty you didn’t know was there?


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