When I was around 10 or 11, I broke my wrist. After reviewing the x-rays, the doctor decided I didn’t need to have it reset, so they casted it and sent me on my way.
Six weeks later when they removed the cast, my hand looked like something out of one of the Alien movies. It was weirdly skinny, and the hand-to-wrist position was disjointed as if I were waving. Awkwardly. Of course, I screamed and they taped the cast around it and sent me for surgery. My new cast was highly curved under my wrist area, versus the more-convenient-for-a-10-year-old straight one. Cool? NOT!
I never forgot the lesson in that experience: it’s possible to be broken and then repaired incorrectly. My broken wrist was examined extensively and then treated according to established protocols. Yet, after the recommended time, though I wasn’t technically still broken, I wasn’t what I’d call whole either. To heal now, I required a more radical, painful approach. This time I was prepped, anesthetized and taken as an inpatient to have the problem addressed. Why? Because before I could be whole, I had to be taken back to the broken place and start over. I needed to be reset.
Are you starting to see where I’m going with this? It seems “broken” is relative. Technically, my bone fused. However, my function was still impaired enough that I couldn’t be let loose in that state. The “outpatient” treatment had to give way to a more intense “inpatient” solution. They had to get closer, go deeper and involve more people in my process to take me from dysfunction, back to broken, and then on to whole and functional.
As much as I didn’t want to go around for several more weeks with a new, more cumbersome cast, the specialists didn’t leave the decision up to me. It would’ve been unethical and grounds for malpractice to send me out with the Alien arm.
Unfortunately, many of us are walking around with a blatant dysfunction, obviously hindering our performance. But how do we correct it when we left the hospital against Doctor’s orders, and have adapted and can’t really see the problem? It’s much easier to avoid the painful reset process once we’ve conformed to the handicap. People keep coming in and out of our lives, complaining about how our dysfunction makes them uncomfortable, or informing us that we harmed them in some way. But rather than go back and re-break to reset, we settle for a switch of cast and scenery.
This surgery wasn’t the last time I would experience a reset after a break. Like the first time, the other times were involuntary as well. Yet, they were necessary and effective. I now have equal amounts of perspective on being broken and being whole. I don’t lament my broken periods any more than I harbor pride about my wholeness. As with my salvation, I cannot take credit. It is truly a gift of God.
Do you have any “broken” stories to share? Let us know in the comments!