“It’s probably never going to heal fully normal,” the hand surgeon reported, trying to console me with, “But if somebody didn’t know I bet they wouldn’t even notice.”
I flashed my hand in the air before her. Saying nothing, I pointed at the wonky finger and we both erupted in laughter.
May 1. That’s when I incurred this “common athletic injury.”
For Sunday afternoon fun, my husband and I, along with our three girls, went to the school playground to play a family tether ball tournament. I was playing (and beating) my husband when I had an incredible follow through, hit the pole, and my hand went numb.
Sensation and movement returned and I went on with life, until it started to arch. Despite my own splinting efforts, it continued to worsen. A trip to the orthopedist revealed a 5th finger PIP joint ligament rupture and tendon tear, landing me in occupational therapy for a formed night splint, a spring-loaded day splint that looks like gym equipment for a mouse, and exercises so that I’d be able to tighten my fist without M&Ms falling through. A woman has to have priorities
It was all going splendid and I could make a fist with the best of ‘em….until it started to curve again.
I returned to the surgeon with hopes of a permanent fix. To hear this well-respected woman say that surgery might make my particular case worse was a win for the pocket book but not to my image of perfection.
And I was disappointed.
Tetherball, people. TETHERBALL! How does a grown woman permanently mess up her hand playing tetherball?!
I was on my way back to occupational therapy with this assignment on my mind when God smacked me upside the head with truth.
I want my girls to believe that they are unique and beautiful in Christ. I tell them not to let the voices of the world define for them what is lovely because that will change but who their Maker says they are will not.
I could forever call my finger ugly and let it make me feel self-conscious. Or, I can let my hand tell the story of invested parenting.
Perspective is everything.
Even for we adults. Perhaps even more so because if we don’t believe beauty in ourselves why ever would our girls?
For the record, I found God’s timely lesson annoying. And, I’m still holding out hope that six more weeks of splinting will improve long-term success. But, to the students in my daughters’ school and at my church weekly checking on my finger, I’m reminded of a deeper definition of beauty. They think my finger is cool because in their sight what I was doing was beautiful.
Within the world, beauty is more about what our life breeds than physical features. It’s found in making others feel valuable. It shines brightest when someone walks away feeling better about their day.
Maybe through something as simple as time on the tetherball court.
To be truly beautiful requires the whole of us. It’s what is on the outside combined with what people feel because of our inside.
I want my life to breathe spirit into another and the time I spend to nurture. I pray my laugh spreads contagious and my willingness to listen gifts others the freedom to be a little disjointed themselves.
We are God’s beloved, beautiful in His sight and equipped to live beautifully with others…wonky finger and all Let’s make it a more radiant place.