As part of my rehab and recovery from a broken leg/hip, I was told it would take 4-6 months to get back to normal. In one of my more reflective moods, I began to contemplate what that means and whether or not it is possible.
How can you get back to normal when everything will be different? At the end of the recovery period, I will be headed to Russia on my annual ministry trip. With a titanium rod and pins in my right leg, navigating airport security will be completely different. I will need greater patience to constantly explain why my leg is setting off the metal detectors. Traveling will never be normal again.
Preaching will require a new normal. I do not use a pulpit and move constantly while I preach. I hold a Bible in one hand and a remote mouse in my other hand. I use PowerPoint and visuals when I preach. Since I now use a walker to get around, I cannot carry things in my hand. I will need a podium or music stand to set things on. Since I cannot stand for long periods, I will need to sit on a stool. My style of preaching will need to change.
Our church staff has stepped up in my absence to fill the void while I’m on the DL. Jack Gilbert has preached for several weeks. His skills and abilities have grown. When I return, there will be a new and different dynamic. There will be a new normal.
During my recovery, I am sleeping in a recliner since getting in and out of bed is too painful. Since I used to sleep on my right side, and since I broke my right leg, will I need to learn a new way of sleeping? Will my nights ever be normal again?
Is it realistic to think life will ever get back to normal? In one sense, it’s like standing in a river and then stepping onto the riverbank for a period of time. When you step back in, it’s a different river. The water is different. Erosion has occurred and the river bottom has changed slightly. Rocks have shifted their positions. I stepped out of the river of my normal life for several weeks/months. When I step back in, will it ever be normal again?
I am reminded of the words of Frodo Baggins at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep that have taken hold.
Rather than expect everything to remain static and on hold for my return, I need to understand that things have changed. I will need to adapt and adjust and change and develop a new normal. Life will never be the same again. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. It might be even better.