An ACL, Shelby, and the Church

Originally published May 19, 2015

If you are a friend of mine on social media or even in real, live world, it comes as no surprise to you that I fell off a bike about a month and a half ago and injured myself.  I have a sprain, excessive bone bruising, a microfracture (I didn't even know that was a thing), and a torn ACL.  All of which will heal on it's own with time, rehab and rest - except the ACL - the ligament responsible for some lateral-type movements and sudden changes of directions (like cutting and pivoting).  A Sports Medicine specialist presented me with my treatment options.  I could either have a surgical reconstruction of the ACL followed by intense rehabilitation, or I could leave it "as is" and rehab to eliminate the pain and bring back range of motion.  Huh?  I had lots of questions.  The doctor explained to me that most people can live a completely normal and active life without an ACL.  Without reconstruction, it won't heal; I would just be making the choice to "make do" without one.  The decision to cut or not is a little complicated for me.  If I played tennis or basketball or soccer, I would definitely need the operation.  But most poeple can go to the gym and walk, run, lift weights, cycle and even do yoga without an anterior cruciate ligament.  Although I'm pretty active and teach group fitness classes, most of my current activities fit into this second category.  BUT, I would have to modify plyometrics, I'd be leary of dance and other new formats and might have to wear a brace for extra support in some activities.  And if my foot happened to slip or trip in a lateral direction - there is no support.  My knee would just give way and I might fall, risking injury of something else.

I went home from the doctor's office with some stretches and exercises to do and a decision to make.  I didn't want to put myself through surgery and subsequent recovery if it was unnecessary, but hated the idea of setting myself up for limitations from the get-go.  So I decided to turn to my Facebook Friends to see if I could find people who had reconstructed ACLs, and those who had decided not to undergo surgery.  These interviews would complete my oh-so-scientific research and help me make my decision.  As I heard testimony from both sides of the issue (thank you, helpful friends), I decided that although I might not technically NEED my ACL, my life would be better with it.  With reconstruction, I can dream of a hopefully-not-too-far-off day when I won't have to modify, wear a brace, or worry about a fall (anymore than I usually do - my husband says he is going to wrap me in bubble wrap - but that is neither here nor there).

With my decision made and painful rehab begun, my now wandering thoughts of the ACL reminded me of the body of Christ in general, and Shelby more specifically.  My mind leap wasn't a big one.  The bible compares the church to body parts.  "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ."  1 Cor 12:12.  My pride would love to take up residence as a right hand.  To be integral and indespensible to the life of 121 Community Church.  But I can't imagine that the church would perish without my pew stuffing, and praying, and encouraging, and helping to lead a Life Group.  So I think I am more like a big toe.  Hidden by a sock.  You don't often think about it, but it helps to balance and support the whole body.  That's me.  Supporting player - much less risk of my pride peaking out of an unsightly hole that way.

When Shelby started high school and no longer had a Sunday morning class to attend, we decided it was time for her to start serving 121 with the other kids her age.  Door greeter seemed to be the perfect fit for her, as God has supernaturally gifted my daughter with a heart full of love and a smile on her face at almost all times.  She loves people and hugs and high fives.  And it works. There are people who seek out Shelby's door so they can be greeted by her.  In her innocense, she is more capable of impacting the world for God's kingdom than my dark and sinful heart will ever be.

It might be easier for Chuck and I if we just let her sit and do nothing at church.  In the same way, it might be easer in the short run for me to avoid the financial and emotional pain of surgery.  But even though the doctor says I don't really "need" an ACL, I can't help but think about the things I might miss doing if I didn't have one.  And even though, to some, Shelby might not seem like a big piece of the global church puzzle, there are so many who would miss a blessing and a touch from God if she didn't occupy her space.  So, I will have reconstructive surgery on my knee - if for no other reason, that I can't imagine God's kingdom without my girl.