I'm Broken!

“I’m Broken.”

After sobbing for 20 minutes, these were the only words that I could say to express the way I was feeling.  Broken.  I knew it was a lie, yet it was how I was feeling at the moment.  My wife, so wonderful through my long struggle with a head injury, continued to speak affirming words and prayed with me before we ended our phone call.

The day started off innocent enough, just going through the normal motions and doing my job.  What precipitated this emotional upheaval was looking back.  It has been 2 years since my 6th and most significant concussion.  After 18 months I finally felt like I was getting back to my “normal” self.  I was finally implementing all the tools I had been learning at the Brain Injury Association and had found a medicine that relieved some of my lingering post-concussion symptoms.  I had a good month and then, bang, concussion # 7 arrived.

Discouraged, emotional, tired, frustrated and sad would be just a few of the words I would use to describe the way I felt afterwards.  I thought I was finally hitting a stride, only to stumble and falter as I continued the race of recovery.  I made the mistake in the midst of this emotional upheaval of looking back at things I had written and done last year.  Where I thought I was doing well, I realize now I was not nearly as “recovered” as I had assumed.  I more “maintained” than anything else at work.  I made mistakes, simple mistakes that I should have caught, and began beating myself up.

As I returned to work, the Lord reminded me of a prayer I prayed a few years back.  I had been studying the passage of Scripture where Jacob wrestles with the Lord. (Gen. 32:22-32) He came away with a blessing and a limp.  I prayed that the Lord would take me deeper, whatever the cost and make me more dependent on Him.  Shortly after that, I acquired concussion 6 and then 7.  I have spent the last 2 years learning to cope and accept what has happened to me.  I saw the blessings in my situation.  Sarah and I had many a conversation about how God has used these concussions to change me for the better in my walk with Him and my relationships with others.  I have become more contemplative, reflective and still, listening in ways I never have before.  I have found a heart of compassion for those suffering with head injuries and mental health issues.

In all of that I have been blessed….but until recently, I ignored the limp.  I knew it was there but I never really “grieved” over what happened.  I have suffered a loss.  I have a “limp” called an acquired brain injury.  It hit me recently that I will, barring a healing from God, never be the same again.  Yet in that grief, I also see how I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)  Despite the loss, I am still a new creation in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor. 5:17) Yes I have lost much, but I have gained so much more.  I can count all things as loss (Phil. 3:8) and look to Jesus Christ and Him crucified! (1 Cor. 2:2) I am honestly not ready to “rejoice” in my situation but I am ready to acknowledge God is still using, leading and guiding me.  Darkness may last for a night but there truly is joy in the morning.  (Psalm 30:5)

Night is ending and I see the cracks of dawn.

For now, I can rejoice in that.

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