Yes, it’s April and I’m boxing up my Christmas decorations and tucking them away in my storage shed. Have you ever heard that before? No, it’s not because I wanted Christmas to last forever.
It’s because the weekend in January when I was going to do it I fell on the ice and broke my arm. Not just my arm, but my right arm. I’m right handed. And not just a simple break. I sheared the bones in two.
For the last couple months I was unable to do anything with my right hand or arm. My life stopped while I cradled my broken arm next to my body to protect what was left of it and waited for surgery.
A couple weeks later, in February, my doctor helped me become a bionic woman with a titanium plate and screws to put everything back together. When asked what color of cast I wanted (I’d already used up my favorite colors on the splints I’d had). I jokingly said, “Glow-in-the-dark.” Guess what? I got it–and it did GLOW when I turned the lights out.
To my shock, I discovered that, throughout my whole life, my left hand had hung uselessly by my side. I laughed my way through the last couple months as I trained my left hand to put the toothbrush in my mouth and brush my teeth. Have you ever tried tying shoes with one hand? Opening a jar? Or writing cursive with your off-hand? I couldn’t even jot a note to myself. Or how about opening an envelope? I felt vulnerable when in public and helpless at home.
Gradually my left hand and arm became productive. Now, I’m nearly ambidextrous.
It was a wild ride, living with one useful arm until just a couple weeks ago. I’m still under weight restrictions, so this is the first weekend since Christmas that I’ve been able to lift lightweight boxes. Thus the box of Christmas decorations is still sitting on the living room floor.
Through it all I’ve discovered that I have amazing friends and that I live in a community filled with kind and helpful strangers. And my heart is filled with a deeper compassion for those who struggle with physical restrictions.
There’s something that you can do too. I’d like to encourage you to do a simple experiment. Take your dominate hand and put it in your pocket for an hour–and do not use it–no matter what–not for anything.
Afterwards, reflect on how would your life be different if you only had one arm. Life can change in a split-second, in ways that we don’t like.
Then, I’d like you to apply what you learned to help someone else. Out of consideration, first ask if they’d like you to help and how. It might be as simple as opening a door, or retrieving a can of soup off the top shelf in the grocery store, a shelf they can’t reach.
I firmly believe that together we can make the world a better place by being kind to those around us.
It’s time to go get that box of Christmas decorations out of the living room and put it away–after all, it is April and I can use two hands and arms. Wahoo! Thank You, Jesus!