Dictionary definition of “crisis:” a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention. So says Merriam-Webster.
I’ve had a few crises in my life. You? Some of my early crises, maybe even most, I brought on myself with a little help from my companions ignorance, foolishness or knee-jerkiness. Some crises — like the death of loved ones — just happen.
I had one recently, a crisis, when I ruptured the tendon in my heel and needed surgery to correct it. People who study the stages of crises would tell you I’m somewhere in the resolution, recovery and learning stages.
That means the initial “Pop!” — literally, in my case — is long over; my shock, disbelief and self-doubt have waned; and I’m in the mode of getting better and seeing what I can learn. Good.
In fact, I am learning much from this crisis. I’m learning to drive with my left foot, how to take a shower standing on one leg and how to roll around on campus without spilling my precious coffee. Those are some silly, but not insignificant, lessons.
Deeper: I am learning not to take my health for granted. In an instant, one of my legs became largely useless. I could not walk, which meant I could not help catch babies or traverse the hospital halls serving patients.
It had never occurred to me I would not be able to work whenever I wanted to, and one day, my older body will thank me for a torn Achilles because my commitment to take care of this earthen vessel has been reinforced even as the Achilles was reinforced by the surgeon’s sutures.
Deeper still: I am learning to adapt, and not just in the shower or the car. I am learning to adjust my thinking to focus on what I CAN do rather than on what I CANNOT do, and I am humbled reading about quadriplegics who paint with their mouths, amputees who perform great, record-breaking endeavors or people suffering from cerebral palsy whose athletic accomplishments blow right by my own even when I am 100 percent.