I recently broke my arm and have come to many helpful conclusions on my healing journey. It’s important to realize that when we suffer any type of loss in life, there are two hurdles that must be crossed in order to heal and move on. First, we must come to terms, mentally speaking, with what has happened and learn to accept it. The quicker you can do this, the sooner you’ll be on the path back to good health and good spirits. This isn’t always easy and it helps to consider that you cannot change the past, but you can definitely change the future and how you react to loss. The second part is getting over the physical aspect of the loss. Everything I do takes significantly longer. Learning how to dress myself, eat, write, and use a computer with only one arm and one hand (the non-dominant one at that) is no easy task. Thankfully I have an angel of a wife taking care of me and parents and parents-in-law who come visit and help with the chores, and good friends who are there with a hand and a wish that I make a quick and healthy recovery. Learning how to go about my day with one arm out of commission will take time and practice. With any loss, overcoming the mental AND physical aspects must be tackled in order to move on.
Another lesson to learn from this is the importance of patience. I know that my body is doing the best it possibly can. Healing bones takes time; there’s no way around it. Patience is a virtue. When driving through town with my arm still sore, we had to drive slowly or else the jarring from road bumps would cause extreme pain. Many a car would impatiently tail us, pass our car and on a number of occasions let out a honk of disapproval. Their honks didn’t bother me because I knew if I could only explain the situation to them they would feel ashamed to have honked at us, and had they known they wouldn’t have honked in the first place. Heck, I wish we could have driven faster so as not to be an inconvenience. No one on the road wanted the situation, yet here we were. For a moment, I tried to consider the situation from the other drivers’ perspective, but with the knowledge of what was going on. How would I react? I would give them the space and time they need. I know the other drivers would do the same, if they only knew. So why not just make it a habit to assume the driver you’re angry with isn’t actually being an asshole, but is simply doing what they can to make the best of a bad situation. If we only took the time to be patient, we might begin to see things from the other perspective, or at the very least, not make an already poor situation a worse one.
The last thing I realized was how important it is to acknowledge and be thankful for all the things that are going right. Sure, having a broken arm is no fun but in the grand scheme, my life is full of things to be happy about: I have a loving wife, family and friends, a roof over my head, the best dog ever, a job that was accommodating to my situation, and great coworkers who helped me get back on my feet. In the words of Charles Dickens, “Reflect upon your present blessings.” To do so helps you put your situation in perspective and hopefully what may seem like an impossible journey ends up feeling like a manageable bump in the road.