On August 29th, 2011, I came face to face with a undeniable fact. Not only am I mortal, but I'm definitely breakable. Over the past 30 days, I learned way more about myself than I really wanted to, but I also had the chance to see what really mattered to me, too.
I was absent for a month from Scouts, and the world did not end. In fact, some of the youth leaders stepped up and took over my role in my place. Interestingly, the boys did say that they missed seeing me, and that they appreciated the fact that I kept things moving and progressing for them. While they liked the reprieve, I'm sure, I think they were glad to see me again Tuesday night.
I haven't been able to attend my church for the past month, but what was beautiful to see was the fact that my church (meaning the members and my friends) came to see me and bring church to me, in the truest sense of the word. I'd never been in that situation before, and while some joked with me that it must feel good to not have to get up early on Sunday mornings, I told them I'd be happy to get up even an hour earlier if it meant I was physically capable to go and be where I felt I needed to be. The real key, though, is that it taught me that there are those that would like to be in my situation, a temporary sidelined individual. Sadly, for them, their situations are more long term. It's time for me to pay back kindness for kindness :).
I learned to let my kids take the lead on things and exercise a little more freedom than I might normally feel comfortable with them doing. They did not spontaneously combust. In fact, they showed me how truly resilient they really are :). My kids cooked for me, helped me get around when I needed it, and generally turned the tables on their old man and told "him" when he was pushing himself too hard or otherwise might be geting himslf into situations that were premature or otherwise potentially dangerous. True confession time, I got on my bike to give my ankle some much needed range of motion therapy. My older daughter read me the riot act ("Dad, what do you think you're doing? What if you fell? Do you want to risk a relapse?!" Ahhh, gotta love it (LOL!) ).
I had to work remotely, with little in the way of supervision or checking in. My status updates each morning, the issue tracker and github were effectively my progress trackers, and I saw that I could be a long term telecommuter if I had to. Having said that, I really do prefer the dynamics of a team working together. Even though I so often declare myself the Lone Tester, I'm almost never an "all by my lonesome" contributor. I participate with a dynamic team and the give and take informs much of what I do. I didn't realize how dramaticaly until I literally couldn't be there to interact with the development or support teams.
Today was my first day physically back at work. Driving with my left foot (not so hard if you have an automatic transmission; thank goodness I don't still own a stick shift!), a train ride, and a four block walk (which I will admit was exhausting today ;) ), and a joyful welcome back from my co-workers, mixed with a few "dude, are you sure you should be back here so soon?!" Yes, I need to be here, not just for my physical therapy, but for my mental well being as well. For four weeks I was bed-bound and/or house-bound. It was time to get back out in the real world again, even if it meant I moved really slowly. For those who have been following this journey of mine, it would be tempting to say that it's all over, but it's not. I'm still in the boot for at least another month, and my physical therapy will continue for several more months, as it won't be until then that I know the true dimension of whether or not I'll get full use and range of motion of my lower leg and foot again. It's a bit of a windy road, but so far, I'm doing pretty well. To those who have been offering me encouragement, prayers and general good vibes these past 30 days, I am wholly grateful, more than you will ever know :).