Broken Spring

This transition from ice to water, from darkness to light, from winter to summer, is never painless. My life has regularly mirrored the broken spring…the painful transformation from rigid to receptive…the only way to beautiful growth.

The Start of Spring

Old man winter starts to relax his hand and the ice and snow that has solidified itself over the last two months starts to melt, but then the fingers tighten for a second and the mess that has softened tentatively refreezes because it will eventually melt again….and away.  The oscillation pops up the pavement, muddies the grass and ultimately gives way to dry and warmth…the only place growth can happen. It is not predictable and incredibly sloppy.

My Breaks in Spring

Break One

My junior year in high school, my sixteen-year-old athletic body broke itself in two places on a basketball court.  Not having ever been seriously hurt before, the full arm cast and full leg cast weighed down more than the left side of my body.

In an instant, I went from an indestructible, confident athlete to a wheelchair-riding invalid. All that had been my identity was shifted from speed and competence  to a seated and slowed perspective I had never imagined.

I depended on help to shower, on help to dress, on help to get my things from my backpack, and not a moment of it was pain-free.

Six weeks of casts, doctors, and looks and snickers from insecure teenagers. At the end of the sloppiness I had been profoundly and permanently changed.

The bones healed… strengthened in the places that had been broken, and the spirit of overwhelming cockiness had been broken and rebuilt too.

I appreciated the chance I had to get out of my wheelchair…impressed by the fact that the other kids with whom I shared wheelchair ramps would not have that option.

I saw what other parts of myself I had to offer the world when my coordination didn’t matter.

I recognized the loving and giving hands of my family and close friends. The ones who slowed down enough to walk with me.

I was laid bare in that broken spring.  Melting and freezing, melting and freezing. It is a transition toward growth…ever unpredictable, sloppy and painful.

The beauty that emerges depends upon it.

To be continued…there have been two subsequent “spring breaks” in my life. I’ll come back to visit those memories in upcoming blogposts.

30 thoughts on “Broken Spring

  1. As painful as this experience was for you, the growth attained was miraculous. . . It gave you insights that have made you who you are, and who you can trust. A gift for a lifetime!

  2. What an extraordinary experience for a teenager to come to terms with. The essence of it in this line, I think, “I was laid bare”. Indeed in laying bare, a deep compassion was seeded within you and it’s wonderful to see that compassion has grown into a fine, healthy plant with strong roots and sturdy branches and lovely fruit 😉

    • It was a unique experience for me…especially at the vulnerable age it happened. I was quickly grateful for the lessons, and I have since been compelled to find “fruit” in my growing pains. Thanks for reading…and for insight!

  3. This is a beautiful post. I love the use of metaphor to set up the story. I also love the message of the story. It is so true how as 16 year olds we feel so indestructable. You hit the nail right on the head.

    • Thanks Meryl. Time and distance makes the experience so much clearer than it was when I was going through it. I still knew at the time how important it all was for my life.

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