All broken bones are painful and take time to heal, but some breaks are worse than others or more unexpected. My fall happened at the end of a ladies’ retreat at which I had been the speaker. Ice covered the parking lot, and I slipped, fell, and landed on my right knee with a thud in full view of all the ladies from the retreat. I felt foolish and careless but never expected anything to be broken. I stubbornly took myself home before allowing my husband to take me to get the knee evaluated by doctors. X-rays revealed a piece broken off the joint which had a ten percent chance to heal without surgery. The doctors decided to watch and X-ray several more times. This showed that the broken piece had not moved, and I did not need surgery. But I required six weeks on crutches with no weight put on my leg, and then another six weeks with crutches, and then a cane as I relearned to walk. This meant I needed a lot of help.
As much as I did not like the crutches and being incapacitated, I also desired my leg to heal well, and it did. I listened to medical advice and accepted help from others when my husband needed to go out of town for work. Some people brought over meals. Others took my youngest daughter, who lives with us, to work and to her Special Olympics events. Still others popped by for a visit or phoned and chatted to help pass the time.
Just when I could start putting some weight on my leg while using the crutches, I was asked to speak at another ladies retreat. It was humbling to have to be waited on and to speak sitting down, and yet God allowed a close sharing time among the group of women as we sat in a circle.
When my good friend came over to care for my feet, I had tears in my eyes as she sat caring for them gently for over an hour. It brought tears to my eyes because it showed the depth of her servant heart and her friendship. We had visited together lots over the years and had many fun times for the two of us and our families as well. We had laughed together, cried together, and shared our concerns as we prayed together. But this was a different expression of kindness than I expected, and it touched me deeply.
My friend and I seldom see each other these days as our lives have taken on different challenges and opportunities. Yet when we have the time to phone each other, we pick up our friendship easily which I believe is a blessing from God.
My friend’s selfless act of service continues to challenge me to look at the verse in Colossians 3:17 which says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (NIV). I have to stop and ask myself, “Am I really doing enough to encourage, help, and serve others when they have a need?” My life continues to be filled with some tough circumstances, and I need to help those in my family. However, one way I am able to help others even if I am unable to go to them is by offering a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on if necessary. Technology helps me be able to do this from anywhere.
I know that my words can also encourage others. God has given me the ability to tell stories and relate them to what I have learned from or been challenged by in Scripture. I write these as devotionals and share them with friends and family to help them in a different way than my friend helped me, but still for God’s glory and their encouragement.
It also makes me think of Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others” (NRSV). I need to really listen to the needs of others and ask God to give me ideas on how to help, strength to do it, and to not procrastinate. I try to offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and hugs to those who need them. I am still a work in progress and still find it easier to give help to others than to be the recipient. But I take it one day at a time, trusting God each step of the way.