I still can’t believe I am typing these words. I am not going to climb Kilimanjaro next week. I should be over the moon that in less than 48 hours I would have been making my way over the Atlantic Ocean heading towards Tanzania. Not any more. Last Saturday I was well on my way to completing my final training hike on Grandfather Mountain when I slipped (on a flat and easy part of the trail, to add insult to injury) and sprained my ankle. Sprained all three ligaments – 6 week recovery time. Yep. I did that. One week out from a trip I have been planning for about a year and training for the last 6 months. Words do not adequately describe the feelings I have experienced the past 5 days. Shock. Embarrassment. Chagrin. Discomfort. Heartbreak. Disappointment.
Everyone has been so kind to me this week. Thank you for all of the acts of kindness, injections of humor into this infuriating turn of events, prayers, and encouragement. That has kept me from sinking into a pool of depression or wallowing in self-pity. It has made swallowing the disappointment pill so much easier. I am grateful for the reminder that we share life together and with that is the opportunity for others to celebrate our joys as well as join in our laments. And there is comfort in that. I think I had forgotten this truth. Or hadn’t had community to share significant life events with. (As a District Superintendent you are not surrounded by a community like you are while pastoring a church.)
The bad news – I have trained and dreamed and planned almost everyday for 6 months all for naught. I have spent a bunch of money preparing for this trip. My ankle doesn’t feel so good. My heart is broken over not getting to experience this adventure that I was ready for and that was within my grasp.
The good news – My ankle is not broken and will heal. My trip was insured so I can get reimbursed and reschedule for another day. I am in the best shape of my life and it looks like I will get to do that all over again next year! I have two weeks of unexpected vacation to figure out what to do with. (Although that is kind of stressful for someone like me who has a hard time unplugging unless I am away doing something fun/cool.)
So when I consider the big picture – I’ll get over it. And there are far worse things that other people are dealing with. Hurricane Harvey’s destruction of homes and lives, cancer diagnosis, terminal illness, fear of not being able to make next month’s rent, I could go on.
But that disappointment pill still tastes pretty darn bad. And we’ve all had to swallow it at one point or another. I know I will learn some amazing lessons from this experience. I know I will climb Kili one day. (I am sorry some of you are going to have to listen to me talk about it again next year!) But I will do it when I’m 100% ready and can enjoy the experience, not worry about every step I take. I know I will now have some quality time with my husband who was not going to Tanzania with me anyway.
While I lick my wounds and make an alternative vacation plan I will remember the following Psalm. I’m not quite 100% there but I’m working on it. I may be elevating and icing my ankle now, but before long I’ll be running and dancing again with my usual joy. Maybe these words will speak to your heart if you, too, are having to swallow a disappointment pill in your own life these days.
I give you all the credit God. You got me out of that mess, you didn’t let my foes gloat.
God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.
All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.
When things were going great I crowed, “I’ve got it made.
I’m God’s favorite. He made me king of the mountain.”
Then you looked the other way and I fell to pieces.
I called out to you, God; I laid my case before you:
“Can you sell me for a profit when I’m dead? Auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?
When I’m ‘dust to dust’ my songs and stories of you won’t sell.
So listen! and be kind! Help me out of this!”
You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God, I can’t thank you enough.
-Psalm 30 (The Message)
Grace and Peace,