It is funny the things we think we can’t live without. I broke my right arm near the wrist on Christmas Eve Eve as my daughter calls it, December 23rd for the rest of us. I must say that there is little more inconvenient than organizing Christmas celebrations with a splint up to one’s elbow. My response to this limitation vacillates between “I can do whatever I want, this cast won’t stop me,” to “Ouch, I can’t do anything with this stupid thing. Why hasn’t someone invented instant bone-healing pills?”
This isn’t the first time I have had something I considered vital taken away, and I know I will get back the use of my arm in a few weeks. At 35, my weeks fly by so fast that I am sure it will feel like no time. For now, though, I feel uncomfortable; stretched in ways I would rather not experience. Typing left-handed. Driving left-handed, including starting the engine and shifting gears (at least I drive an automatic). Showering with my right arm in a bag. It makes every task harder. Hardest yet, brushing my teeth with my non-dominant hand. Seriously try it sometime, it will make you feel helplessly awkward.
If you had asked me what limb I would least like to lose the use of for 6 weeks, I would probably have said “My right arm.” Surprisingly, though I am already coping. Two weeks later and I am less awkward at getting dressed–I fastened my own bra this morning. I can make coffee in my french press, which is a vital task. I have even managed to chop onions left-handed and brushing my teeth gets easier every day. I have begun to adapt.
Things are still not easy, but they will get better. I will get better at doing them. And in 4 more weeks I will have new skills and strength that would have gone undeveloped had I not been forced to do things differently.
None of us like change. We would all prefer to make our choices independently and do things the ways in which we are familiar. We are constantly accumulating things we think we have to have in order to survive. But we can live with less. We can adapt to loss. We can find new strength to take the place of whatever we had propping us up. Sometimes the thing we fear to lose the most is the thing we ought to try living without, at least for a time.
What are you leaning on? Can you live without it? Where would you find strength if you lost what you hold dear?
Finding out we are stronger than we thought, now that’s ReFreshing.