Walking down the steps into the garage these past two years were as common as any other routine activity I engaged in. Except this time my brain confused three steps for two followed by my right foot landing askew. When I heard the cracking sound and found myself lying on the cold garage floor, common and routine were no longer applicable. The pain was instant and a nauseous feeling ensued. My dog, Murphy anxious to get back in the yard with me while I resumed gardening, quizzically looked at me and became concerned as I attempted to get up and hobble back into the house. The nurse in me hoped that elevating my extremity and applying ice would abort a dreaded visit to the doctor. After five minutes of discussing the scenario with my Mom and son, I knew this was an injury that needed more of an evaluation than my watchful eye. I called the doctor’s office and made an appointment within the hour, contacted a friend to transport me, and took pictures of the ever increasing edema on top of my foot.
By the time my friend arrived to get me, the pain was intense to the point that I could not bear any weight on it. She took one look at it and confirmed my suspicion. She said, “Linda, your foot is broken.” The doctor took four X-ray views and looking at the first three did not expose any evidence of a fracture. She and the nurse praised my healthy eating habits and lifestyle to maintain strong bones. The fourth picture revealed a different story. I had a navicular fracture caused by the tendon pulling on the bone with enough force to break a piece of the bone off. My physician put a splint on my foot with instructions to ice and elevate it, then return to the office in a week when the swelling was reduced. A follow-up X-ray would be done at that time with a walking cast placed for six weeks. The first week I would be ambulatory only with crutches. I would not be allowed to drive during the seven week recovery. That was a lot to process. What was my brain thinking when it misguided my feet into missing a step in my own house that I had used countless times? I guess I would be given some time to ponder that.
I bought some crutches at the pharmacy while getting my pain medicine prescription filled. A kind patron helped me figure out how to best fit the apparatus to my body. As I walked with the crutches, my gait was unsteady at best, and made me wonder if I would fracture another bone in the process of relearning how to walk. Practice is making perfect, and I am getting used to the new way of ambulating. Far from perfect, but mobile nonetheless. I do not do very well at lying around. I am more of a get up and go girl and if crutches are the means of going, then so be it.
Today is the first day after my injury, and I noticed that my armpits were sore and bruised. It came to me that my armpits are a part of my body that I rarely give thought to except for remembering to apply deodorant and shaving the stubble. My armpits however; were critical in the placement of my crutches. If not for them, I would not be upright, much less moving about. That rarely thought about body part had new purpose and meaning for me. They were taking the brunt of my weight, carrying the burden if you will, and had the bruises to show for it. I became thankful for my armpits probably for the first time in my life. Most of the time the association with the name is negative-smelly and sweaty. I began to see past the negative stereotype and see the value.
This reminds me of the Scripture talking about parts of the body in 1 Corinthians chapter 12:12-26. Our bodies do not have a singular function, but are many, so one part cannot say to the other that it is not important. Verse 18 ESV says, “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose.” He does this that we might honor the entire body. Look how I never really gave much thought to my armpits until I became dependent and aware of them. This is also true in the body of Christ, His church. Verses 24b-26 says, “But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
What brother or sister have we overlooked, taken advantage of, neglected, or dishonored? Perhaps it was an unconscious oversight by going through the motions and “putting on daily deodorant or shaving”, not really giving that member of the body the honor they were created for. Perhaps it was intentional, utilizing pride in our appearance or ability, thinking we have greater value than others. Do not wait for an injury to wake up the awareness in your heart to be thankful for each member of Christ’s body. My armpits have a special new meaning for me, both for my physical body, and the church. I thank God for armpits.