Some of you know that I tripped and fell, injuring my left shoulder about a month ago while on a family trip to Italy. In my defense, I was on a wildly uneven ancient road. I suspect people were falling all the time back there, which probably explains why so many ancient statues have the arms broken off!
Let me assure you that my injury is only a bad internal bruise and I’m recovering nicely. However, in addition to a “slow down and watch where you’re going lesson,” I’ve learned some lessons which I’ll share so you don’t have to get hurt to learn them.
Saying I’m fine. Lots of people asked if I was alright and I quickly said I was fine. I wasn’t fine. We often say this when we aren’t fine and really need help. Soon I had to admit I wasn’t fine. So, whatever is going on in your life, tell someone who can pray and help.
Worst case scenario. Although the pain wasn’t too bad, for a few days my arm wouldn’t move much at all. I was sure something really serious had happened. Sometimes the worst thing does happen, but usually it doesn’t. Be realistic and careful, but don’t panic. Be optimistic. Trust it will be okay.
Appearances can be deceptive. My arm appeared almost dead, but it wasn’t – it was just sorta stunned. People around us may appear spiritually weak or even dead when in reality they are stunned by life circumstances. They need help and patience, comfort and love – and they’ll get better.
Appreciating the loss. I am righthanded, but wow did I miss my left hand! I actually think my left arm is stronger than my right because I give it the heavy, grunt work so my right can do the finesse stuff (left: carry 8 grocery bags; right: unlock the door). Our behind the scenes people in our lives who do so many things without notice or fanfare are so strong. We shouldn’t have to lose them to notice and thank them.
Helping out. My right arm has been happy to lift things the left usually lifted, massage the left, and do things for my left. No complaints. My body knows it’s a body and parts pick up the slack when one part can’t do its job. The body of Christ is made up of strong and weak members (and everything in between). We help and serve one another without hesitation or complaint! Remember, we’re a body!
Learning. I’ll confess that I wasn’t thinking of any useful lessons when I hurt my shoulder – it was just, “Oh no! My vacation (and the rest of the group’s) is ruined!” James says that suffering can teach us things (Ja 1), but it is usually hard to immediately see this. Be patient. Hold onto your faith. Look for the opportunity to learn and get stronger. Learning isn’t always painful, but sometimes it is.
I’m fine now. In Christ, whatever you are going through, you’ll be fine too. We’re a body, helping each other go to heaven. Yes, we’ll be more than fine!