On the 4th of July, we were at my sister’s house with my extended family. We ate tacos and went swimming. Late in the afternoon, I wanted to take the kids exploring in the creek behind her house.
There’s not much I enjoy more than exploring in the creek with my boys.
We made our way across the field and scaled down the side walls of the creek, into the murky water. The water was flowing pretty well and we were having a blast looking for clams and random things the recent rains brought in.
We even found an old roller blade.
We’ve explored in creeks dozens of times, all without incident, but I guess that day was different.
We crossed a big fallen tree and were headed to a sandy bank when all of a sudden, WHAM! The most severe pain I could imagine was throbbing from my foot. I pulled it up, out of the water only to find my toe covered in blood. (apologies if you have a weak stomach) Somehow, I’d completely torn off the toenail.
In extreme pain, with kids alone in a creek, and no way to get back except to walk, I had no choice but to put that foot back down in the murky water and limp all the way back. I finally made it. Somehow my sister, who is a nurse, had me laughing through my tears as she dumped peroxide over my toe and got me bandaged up.
Needless to say, I ended up with a nasty infection and severe pain for a week.
Add to that, I. Do. Not. Like. Antibiotics. They make me feel terrible, but when you’re faced with loosing a phalange, you cooperate. So I spent the week with my foot held high and enough antibiotics in my system for a large horse. Good times.
I’ve thought through that scenario in my mind a hundred times.
Why did I go in the creek with no shoes on? Why didn’t it even cross my mind? The rocks were sharp and painful, but I kept going anyway. Why would I do that?
It was partly because I’m as stubborn as a mule and do not know how to quit.
But I think it was mostly because I just really wanted to play in the creek and I wasn’t thinking about the tradeoff. I wasn’t thinking about how that one choice would affect my entire week, or the next several months of my life.
Looking back, do I regret it?
Nope. I don’t regret climbing into the river. (but I sure wish I’d thought of shoes)
What’s really interesting is that this experience has reminded me of my humanity.
All the stubborn strength in the world, can’t make the pain go away. Even the silly orthopedic shoe can’t help me walk normally. Nothing I eat seems to settle my stomach or make my head feel better. I’ve had to ask for help, way beyond my comfort zone. I’ve cried from sheer pain, in front of my kids and my husband, probably for the first time ever and it’s given them an opportunity to care for me. To take care of me.
It’s reminding me of how much we need each other.
On the paths of our lives, we’re going to make some dumb choices. We’re going to screw up and get hurt. We’re going to have to ask for help and that’s a good thing.
It creates an opportunity for connection, love and empathy.
You should take it!
If you’re in pain today, go ahead and cry. Let it out. Let someone you love see you. Don’t try to hold back and tough it out alone.
Let them care for you.
If someone you love is hurting, get out the peroxide, your strong hands and pour out your heart. Give them a reason to smile, even through the tears. Let them know you’re there.
We need each other.
To more love,