Sometimes we all need a change of scenery and a change of pace to shake us out of our doldrums, recharge our internal batteries, and realign our priorities.
That’s why taking a vacation is such an important part of our workplace sanity and family health. By getting away from the normal routines and environment, our eyes are challenged to see new things and adapt to new routines. (Not to mention, the extra rest that usually comes from a vacation also helps bring us back refreshed and ready to tackle the next project.)
While our family recently took our annual summer vacation, this one was impacted in unique ways by a medical event three weeks before we left.
First, the backstory. My oldest son plays college basketball and suffered an injury during the spring workouts. When he did not improve after following the athletic trainer’s instructions, we got a second opinion…which led to an MRI, then surgery. Followed by four non-weight-bearing weeks on crutches and up to four months (or longer) without any basketball activities in order to allow the cartilage to heal properly.
Take one active boy and put him on crutches for a month. That led to obvious adaptations like a shower chair so he didn’t have to stand on one leg on a soapy, slippery floor. And a change of responsibilities at work since he could no longer do his current job while on crutches. It also affected my life when it came to monitoring medications, bringing him meals, rotating ice packs, and even driving him to work those first few times. We had to plan more time into normal activities like showers, getting up stairs, and commuting to work because his normal go-getter pace was slowed down by crutches. Not to mention, his scenery shrank to that of the recliner or couch with a television or video game since mobility issues eliminated things like workouts, hikes, and even golf with his friends.
And then came vacation. Our usual plans included a full week riding rollercoasters at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri and getting way more than our 10,000 steps per day criss-crossing the hilly park. Plus swimming pools and sometimes even a water park filled with carry-your-own-tube-to-the-top-of-the-flume rides.
Yeah. Not happening with a boy still on crutches…but maybe with a wheelchair/crutch combination. We started to dream of ways to make vacation fun again…and then the surgeon squashed the coaster craze because the jarring could interfere with the internal healing process and set back his recovery.
The wheelchair would have been a hassle and slowed down the coaster group’s rapid race through the park. But now my son would be watching from the sidelines. Did he want to make the effort to be there and simply watch while the rest of the adrenaline-junkies had fun…or would he rather join the slower group doing other rides, listen to visiting country music groups, and watch the craftsmen create blown glass? (Let’s just say it depended on the day.)
For him, it was definitely a change of pace…and a change of scenery since he was dropped to a sitting position rather than standing a head above the crowd. For me, by looking out for his needs, it was also a chance to put less pressure on myself and the rest of the group. To be content to go at a slower pace and let the pressures simply roll away. To be thankful that medical breakthroughs had allowed us to know what was wrong with his knee and start to fix it. To be reminded to pray for a full healing…while knowing that the future was still in God’s capable hands.
This recent vacation…and this recent restriction have taught me a lot about deliberately changing things in my life in order to more fully appreciate what I already have. That said, I’m looking forward to tomorrow when he can start weaning himself off the crutches!
What about you? Have you ever been forced to change your pace or your scenery? Did you find something beneficial about it? What can you do today to change up the routine in the coming week?