One day in April, I sprained my ankle, and in the process remembered I’m not finished being created:
The disc cut through the breeze and rose steadily into the air as the ground beneath my racing feet sloped away. I leapt for the Frisbee, it eluded my grasp, and I began falling. However, my leap had carried me farther down the sloping field than I anticipated, and my left foot connected with the turf a split-second later than it intended to. Within the next three or four split-seconds, my ankle collapsed under the weight of the rest of my body, which quite naturally followed my foot back to earth. My first thought (as my foot and calf played tug-of-war with my ankle’s ligaments) was: “Not again.” But this fatalism was short-lived, for it dissolved into much anguished rolling around, grass-pulling, and sobbing.
Ultimate Frisbee has now joined soccer, racquetball, and basketball on the list of sports that have put out contracts on my left ankle over the last nine years. Each time, my ankle swelled so I couldn’t see those two knobby protrusions of bone that everyone has, and each time, as the ankle healed, the bruise filtered down my foot, making my toes look like grapes. As I write this, my foot is wrapped in ice, and I long for the days of purple toes. And they will come in time, next week perhaps, if I keep icing and popping Ibuprofen. They will come because the body heals. And the body heals because I’m not finished being created.
The cells divide, the tissues repair, the ligaments rebound. The swelling dwindles, the toes un-purple, the strength returns. This process happened the first three times, and it has begun again. I am being created as I sit here, just breathing and sitting. I breathe in and the air floods my lungs and my lungs separate the oxygen and the oxygen feeds my heart and my heart pumps my blood and my blood carries energy to my ankle where the cells are busy dividing. Each cell division begins with breath, which is the mark of the One who continues to speak creation into existence.
It is the same with the trees, whose canopies I can see from my prone position: last week they proclaimed their constant creation as new buds reached for the sun. It is the same with the birds, whose gossip I can hear past my window: this morning they proclaimed their constant creation as they rummaged for supplies for expectant nests. It is the same with each human being, who refuses to remain exactly the same as she was yesterday or he was the day before that. The One who creates me, who (surely knowing I’d have a knack for spraining my ankle) gave my body the ability to heal, is creating still with the simple ingredients of life and light and love. I’m not finished yet. The world isn’t finished yet. This I believe.
One thought on “Musings upon the occasion of a sprained ankle”
This is very nice! At this point in my life–40 years old–I am becoming more aware of a different reality, and I’m interested in how you would take the same theme up.
I am more and more conscious of the limitations of body, of the ways that my body no longer repairs itself as it once did. I am more and more conscious of the limitations of time, in which the limitless possibilities I saw before me when I was twenty are no longer such. I can only do so many things now, and for many there is no longer sufficient lifespan to accomplish them.
And yet, I resonate muchly with the theological emphasis you make here, of unfinishedness, and the ways this is a blessing.