I know I have written about it before, but I am not the most patient person in the world in some things. I have had yet another reminder of this situation in recent weeks that has an element of pain associated with it.
A few weeks ago I fell while running and managed to significantly injure the little finger on my left hand. Almost immediately my finger swelled and started bruising and x-rays confirmed a tiny fracture in the tiny bone on the tip which the doctor recommended wearing a splint for. This treatment was to initially help reduce the swelling but would be beneficial over the coming weeks, I was told, in protecting it from reinjury from knocks and bumps.
In the first week I was very grateful for the splint that helped to stabilise my pinky on those occasions when I forgot I was carrying an injury and would go to use it. It is amazing how much your little finger on your non-dominant hand is required to pitch in to twist, carry, balance, or push various everyday objects. Without this padded metal device in place I would have been yelling to significant levels around the home and workplace when I attempted to use my finger as I was used to.
Halfway through the second week the swelling had reduced enough for me to be able to bend my finger and it was now simply pressure on the tip that caused any discomfort and so I began to take the splint off for an hour or two, and then half a day, and then a whole day. My idea was that it was obviously nearly better so I didn’t need to rely on this treatment for much longer.
The thing was, every time I was prompted to put the splint back on was usually due to a soft bump or overuse that caused some residual pain and swelling. It would then feel like I had been sent backwards to a prior level of recovery to begin the healing process again. Lesson learned, I would dutifully wear the splint for another full day or two before believing that I was able to remove it again and start the loop over once more!
You’d think I would learn, but I found myself doing this strange dance every few days. What was driving this impatience, I wonder? I suspect it had something to do with the size of my injury on one of the smallest parts of my body. I also believe it had something to do with a desire to be more indestructible than I actually am, or want to be as I age.
What I needed to be was patient in the process. I needed to relax and allow my body to take the time it needed to heal properly. By not doing so it ensured that my total time for recovery was extended beyond what it could have been, and it caused much greater inconvenience and pain. Short term perceived reward led to a higher cost overall.
As I continue to reflect upon this I stumbled across this verse from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes chapter 7 which says, “The end of the matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” (v8)
This causes me to wonder how much of my impatience was actually to do with my pride getting in the way. Too proud to admit that I am ageing and destructible. Too proud to realise that I can’t bounce back like I want to or to accept that it takes time for my body to heal.
Probably greatest of all was the broken pride about falling and injuring myself in the process. If I was ‘better’ there was no more reminder of that for me and everyone else. Pride was driving this season rather than patience and I paid a price for that.
I am on the lookout now for other areas in my life when pride might be getting in the way when patience would serve me better. Learn from me and consider where pride might be playing a part in your life also.