Usually Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the changing season, a time to celebrate with family & friends, the food, and of course the chance to reflect on God's many blessings. This was a bit of a tough weekend however, even though my sisters were out from Saskatchewan to visit us. They were a wonderful distraction, but Doug and I really struggled with thankfulness in light of everything that's happened. It's hard to be in a season of life where every joyful moment is somehow tainted by overwhelming sadness and heartache. I visited Nate's grave for the first time today. What a day.
I'm sure many of you are wondering about my shoulder and many other ailments. About 2 weeks ago I visited an orthopedic surgeon who told me I would definitely be needing more surgery on my shoulder. The X-rays he saw led him to believe that it was dislocated with several broken bones. He ordered a CT scan, which I had the following day, and then this past week I went in to see him. Surprisingly, he told me that my shoulder was no longer dislocated! Also, many of the bones that were fractured had already healed-- only one fracture has yet to heal. A miracle. That's the only explanation I can come up with. Prayers are being answered.
I know I should be happy about this-- and don't get me wrong-- I'm so relieved that I won't be needing surgery anytime soon. However, out of all the doctors I've seen this guy was the most realistic with me. He told me that I may never be able to raise my right arm above shoulder height ever again. All I could think about was how different life is going to look. No more volleyball, basketball, playing squash with Doug. I won't be able to throw a ball or play catch with Caleb. As I had thought about the possibility of having more surgery done on my shoulder before meeting with the doctor, I had the hope that they would be able to fix it to look a bit more like a normal shoulder. Now I just feel like I'm going to have to settle with what I've got right now. It's hard to look in the mirror and see how disfigured I look. In some ways I was okay with surgery because I thought they would be able to fix it-- it's appearance, and it's mobility. Now I just feel like my shoulder is the best it's going to be. So it's back to physio for me.
This Thanksgiving and over the past few weeks I've heard this line a few times: "Things could have been a lot worse. Be thankful that (fill in the blank) didn't happen." I know that people mean well when they say that, and I myself often think about what could have happened and thank God that it didn't, but honestly, I hate that line of reasoning. It downplays this experience and makes me feel like somehow I shouldn't be feeling so upset about Nate's death and frustrated by my injuries. In all honesty, life feels pretty terrible. I can't forget about what's going on in my life at this moment and be grateful about everything. What I have learned lately, is that God can accept me as I am right now. Sometimes, all I can do is say His name and breathe a "thank-you" as I hold Caleb, and that's okay. It's a strange place to be in and a difficult road to walk, but this weekend I learned that suffering and thankfulness are not mutally exclusive. They can coexist with one another. Here's how:
Caleb and his Auntie Trish.
Hanging out with Auntie Angie.
Out for a fun dinner at the Mongolie Grill.
Getting sleepy in the car on our shopping trip in Vancouver.