A Little Joy

Physical/Occupational Therapy and Recovery

It is hard to believe it’s been almost a month since I was in the hospital again. You can read a little about it here: https://talesfromnorthcountry.com/2022/02/14/its-not-always-about-us/. I ended up spending five days in the hospital. They found I had cellulitis, caused by a staph infection in my thigh and near my hip. We were afraid it had gone into the hip joint, and that I could be septic, but thankfully we caught it in time. After a lot of tests and nearly a week in the hospital with IV antibiotics, I was released with antibiotics to recover at home.

The infection has been slowly healing. I still have some soreness, discoloration, and a lot of itching, but that has been slowly getting better as well. I haven’t done a lot for physical therapy over the past few weeks as the leg heals but have tried to do a few at home as long as the pain is tolerable.

Occupational therapy continues to be everyday tasks at home. With the infection, I was pretty sick at first, but have been able to do a little bit more as I start to get better and stronger again. I still have some soreness from the November surgery, but it has gotten a lot better than it was. All of the trauma and surgeries have taken a toll on my body, and I’m just run down. 7 surgeries, at least 11 broken bones, and internal damage is a lot to recover from.

Songs on Repeat

Goodness of God by Bethel

House of the Lord by Phil Wickham

Here I am To Worship by Hillsong

Scripture and Quotes

A Little Joy

Towards the end of February, we added a new addition to our family. Meet Annie. She is a basset hound puppy. Her name means “grace” or “God has favored me.”

Almost two years ago, I graduated with my second Master’s degree in the midst of the Covid Pandemic. The one thing I really wanted as a gift was a puppy. We searched shelters and many different sites, trying to find one, but people were grabbing up puppies as fast as they arrived. Both of our other dogs are rescues, and they were a little older when we got them. Still in the puppy stage, but halfway through it, so we wanted a younger dog this time around.

Then the accident happened, and everything got put off. After almost a year and a half of searching and waiting, we finally were able to find someone who had puppies. We went on the waiting list, and were finally able to get a puppy in February.

Annie has brought a lot of joy into our lives in the couple of weeks we’ve had her. A few photos…

Life is full of ups and downs, and she’s added lots of laughter and happiness during some very difficult times in our lives. Before the November surgery, I was hiking regularly and getting stronger with physical therapy. Since the surgery, it has been a long recovery. My body is just worn down, and I’ve only been out snowshoeing once all winter, before the infection and hospital stay.

I am hoping as my body begins to recover more, I will be able to take Annie and our two other dogs out for hikes. Not all at once of course, unless I have someone else with me willing to take a dog, but it will be good to get out again. I’ve missed it! I am hoping with surgery behind me, and the infection healing, I will finally be able to get back to getting stronger and feeling better again. It’s been a long journey! I’m so very thankful for the little joys in life, like sweet puppy snuggles, the kind words of a friend through a card, and beautiful sunrises despite the winter cold. Life moves forward, even in difficult times, and finding the little pieces of joy, no matter how small, makes the dark times a little easier.

Collateral Beauty and Finding Joy in Pain

First the updates on physical therapy and occupuational therapy:

Occupational Therapy:

I have continued to make improvements. Sometimes it feels very small, but they add up and my left wrist has come so very far!

February 26th
Today

Physical Therapy:

Today I got the all clear to begin walking with a cane. As I transition from the walker to a cane, I will be going back and forth between the two, depending on my pain and energy level that day. I have made a lot of progress in a short time, but I’m also listening to my body, and some days, I just need to take a break.

Songs:

From my mom….

Others to focus on…

Bible Verses:

From my mom…

Others to focus on…

On Collateral Beauty and Joy

I came across a #speaklife post on TobyMac’s Facebook page today that really stood out to me. You can find it here:

https://www.facebook.com/tobymac/photos/a.241173571178/10157853493436179/

This quote really stood out to me. In December, my life changed forever. Certainly, I never would have thought I’d be facing so many injuries and challenges in the days ahead so quickly. But this is the story I’m in. This is what I’ve living day to day. Yet there is much joy among these challenges, even among the pain.

I’ve been thinking about the movie Collateral Beauty. It came out in 2016, staring Will Smith and Keira Knightley. Ben and I saw it in the theater. One thing that really stood out to me in this movie is the idea that even in great pain, there is beauty. The movie refers to this as “Collateral Beauty.” Collateral has several definitions, but one of them is defined as additional but subordinate; secondary. Secondary beauty. Beauty that wasn’t first choice, or something you even wanted to have happen, but beauty nonetheless.

Near the end of the movie, one of the characters says “Just make sure you notice the Collateral Beauty.” Since watching this movie, I’ve thought about the phrase ‘Collateral Beauty’ often. Collateral beauty involves the little things people do and say in the really tough times, like sending care packages and kind messages. It’s a butterfly flittering across the grass and into the sky the day after a storm has come through, and a neighbor helping someone clean up their yard when a tree falls. Sure, we might prefer that the accident never happen, the storm never come or the tree never fall, but there is so much beauty, so much good that can come of it.

If I had a choice in all of this, I would have chosen to not be in a wreck in the first place. That would have been best case scenario in my mind at least, to be whole and not broken from a wreck. But if this was the case, I wouldn’t have had all the good things in between, the kind words, the care packages, meals, and so many other ways people have helped out. Honestly, there has been more “Collateral Beauty” in all of this, than there ever would have been beauty had I been able to choose not to be in an accident. I think the more difficult the experience, the more beauty can be found. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean any of this has been easy or that I don’t have days that are rough. But even in that, there is beauty.

With finding that beauty, comes joy. Joy isn’t just about being happy. It is both a verb and a noun, so while it means ‘a feeling of great pleasure and happiness,’ it is also a verb meaning ‘rejoice.’ Looking for collateral beauty in our darkest moments can help us to find joy. We can rejoice, or show great delight even in tough situations because we see the beauty that is there too.

My faith helps me a lot in this. As a Christian, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that God can and will work all things together for our good, even the bad things. The good isn’t always easy to see though. In dark moments, when the world seems so unfair and so very tough, it’s hard to look for the good. It’s hard to find joy in the Collateral Beauty around us. Our world wasn’t meant to be this way. It isn’t how it was created to be, isn’t how things were supposed to be and we know it. Collateral Beauty is second beauty precisely because it isn’t how the world was created to be. It’s beauty despite what has gone wrong, joy even in the darkest of moments.

When God works things together for our good, sometimes we don’t see right away. Sometimes it’s years down the road that we realize how He took a situation and turned it for our good. Other times, we can see right away, but I think more often than not, especially in very difficult situations, it’s not until years down the line, or perhaps not even this side of Heaven that we understand how God worked things together for our good. But we don’t always need to understand something to see the beauty in it. Joy is all around us, even in the toughest of times. It’s a gift, this collateral beauty that surrounds even the darkest of times. Sometimes we just have to look for it, but the light that comes from joy and collateral beauty will always outshine the darkness.