This transition from ice to water, from darkness to light, from winter to summer, is never painless. My life has regularly mirrored the broken spring…the painful transformation from rigid to receptive…the only way to beautiful growth.
The Start of Spring
Old man winter starts to relax his hand and the ice and snow that has solidified itself over the last two months starts to melt, but then the fingers tighten for a second and the mess that has softened tentatively refreezes because it will eventually melt again….and away. The oscillation pops up the pavement, muddies the grass and ultimately gives way to dry and warmth…the only place growth can happen. It is not predictable and incredibly sloppy.
My Breaks in Spring
My junior year in high school, my sixteen-year-old athletic body broke itself in two places on a basketball court. Not having ever been seriously hurt before, the full arm cast and full leg cast weighed down more than the left side of my body.
In an instant, I went from an indestructible, confident athlete to a wheelchair-riding invalid. All that had been my identity was shifted from speed and competence to a seated and slowed perspective I had never imagined.
I depended on help to shower, on help to dress, on help to get my things from my backpack, and not a moment of it was pain-free.
Six weeks of casts, doctors, and looks and snickers from insecure teenagers. At the end of the sloppiness I had been profoundly and permanently changed.
The bones healed… strengthened in the places that had been broken, and the spirit of overwhelming cockiness had been broken and rebuilt too.
I appreciated the chance I had to get out of my wheelchair…impressed by the fact that the other kids with whom I shared wheelchair ramps would not have that option.
I saw what other parts of myself I had to offer the world when my coordination didn’t matter.
I recognized the loving and giving hands of my family and close friends. The ones who slowed down enough to walk with me.
I was laid bare in that broken spring. Melting and freezing, melting and freezing. It is a transition toward growth…ever unpredictable, sloppy and painful.
The beauty that emerges depends upon it.
To be continued…there have been two subsequent “spring breaks” in my life. I’ll come back to visit those memories in upcoming blogposts.