Johnson City pastor: Lessons learned from a broken ankle

Johnson City pastor: Lessons learned from a broken ankle

As many of you know, I took a bad fall while hiking on the Appalachian Trail and had surgery to repair a broken ankle. Staying in bed with my foot elevated was not the way that I expected to spend Holy Week and Easter (and the weeks to come), but the experience has taken me on my own journey of suffering, trials, and possibilities of new life:

Lesson #1: Everything can change in an instant
One minute I was enjoying my usual Friday hike, the next I was flat on the ground in excruciating pain. One minute I was thinking about my long to-do list, the next I was focused on just one thing, doing what the doctor told me to do. It has a way of putting things in perspective. What we may see as urgent or stressful may not be as important as we think it is.

Lesson #2: Life can and will go on without you
My accident happened at one of the busiest times of year for the church. How could I possibly be gone during Holy Week? Who would take care of those sacred services? What about the wedding I had agreed to do? I pictured everything falling apart, services cancelled, a weeping bride. But none of that came to pass. I learned that everything does not depend on me. God has a way of providing what needs to be done. None of us are indispensable. It is a bit humbling, but there is also freedom and peace in that.

Lesson #3: We take so much for granted
There are people who live every day with the things I am learning: figuring out if I will have to navigate stairs everywhere I go; not being able to take a regular shower; trying to sleep with an elevated foot; enduring persistent discomfort and pain. I am learning to appreciate the things I can do. When you are forced to slow down, you pay more attention to the little blessings.

Lesson #4: People want to help
I had no choice but to ask for help. So many people have stepped forward, doing things they also never expected to do during Holy Week, filling in the gaps, going the extra mile, working as a team. It is a real blessing to discover that we do not face this challenge of life alone, that prayers really do change things, that love and care go a long way in the healing of hearts and uplifting of spirits.

Lesson #5: You’re never too old to move in with your parents
My parents recently added a handicap-accessible bathroom and outside entrance to their home. We never expected that I would be the first to make full use of it. But I am so grateful to receive their TLC.

I am still facing a long road to healing, but I am not afraid, because I know, with God’s help and yours, it can be done. Thank you for all of your cards, e-mails, calls, and prayers. It really does make a difference. I am so grateful for the witness of the church, a place where the wounded come for healing, and where together we form a community of love and grace.

The Rev. Laura Rasor is pastor at Piney Flats United Methodist Church, Johnson City District. This article is reprinted with permission from the Piney Flats UMC newsletter, "The Messenger."