In 1988, my #4 child was 5 years old. David was a daredevil, and you’d often find him at the top of a tree swaying in the wind or racing his bicycle over a home-made obstacle course. This particular day, however, he had chosen to drag the swimming pool ladder to our three-foot above ground pool over to the swing set, climb to the top step and then jump off and swing from the swing set crossbar like a monkey. A disaster was soon to follow!
The next thing I know, I hear a loud crying and find David on the ground holding his arm and seeing it bent (and I would later learn broken) in two places. Off we went to the ER where it was x-rayed and set and cast. He wore that cast for six long weeks. The very week we got that cast off we all celebrated, and I let him attend a roller-skating birthday party of a friend. During that Saturday afternoon event, another child skated right into my son, knocked him down — and the same arm was obviously broken again!
When we arrived at the hospital ER, the SAME orthopedic doctor was on call, and I was in panic mode that he’d think I had been abusing my child. After x-rays, the doctor came in and was very understanding. He did not accuse me of being a bad parent by letting my child go skating, fresh out of an arm cast. In fact, he took the time to ease my mind about it all.
The compassionate physician showed me the old x-ray and then the new x-ray. I could see where the arm had been broken in two places in the first set of films and then in the last set of films, I could see two breaks in two NEW places. It was just bad luck and part of the process of raising a rambunctious boy!
The part of the explanation that I will always remember is when the doctor pointed to the healed breaks in the bone, showed me the calcification, and explained that the healed bone area was now actually stronger than the bone around it. He said, “In a case like this, we are stronger in the broken places!” (And I had an aha moment right there!) What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!
In 2 Corinthians 4:9 (KJV), my Bible reads that we are: “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” One modern translation reads, “Knocked down, but not knocked out.”
You may be reading this at a time when you have been horrifically broken. Someone you loved has died. Don’t despair of hope! Grief recovery is a process to get through, and there is no set timetable for its stages. We all mend differently.
Remember, my friend, that you’ll be stronger in the broken places, soon. And that healing process has just begun. Where are YOUR broken places?