Be Still

I have always thought of myself as fairly humble. I have always tried to be someone that helped others without asking for anything in return or even mentioning it at all, I don't brag about my talents, don't like having a lot of attention, and I have tried to be an aid to those around me without being a hinderance. I didn't put it together that needing help can also be extremely humbling. So when God decided to really humble me I was caught off guard. God knows us more than we know ourselves, and sometimes that is hard to admit. For myself, I have a problem asking for help. I'd rather do something alone than bother someone else to help me. I knew this and God knew this, and it was God alone who knew how to snap me out of my delusion of believing it was okay to think this way. 

A little over a year ago, I was in a skiing accident (funny story I would love to tell one day - ask me about it) and tore my ACL. Learning that I tore my ACL wasn't too bad. I had to wear a brace, but I could still move around, drive, and do my normal routine. It was the aftermath of the surgery that was the humbling part, however. Even though the surgery brought me one more screw closer to being a robot, it left me pretty immobile and dependent. I needed someone to look after me and make sure I wasn't reacting weird to the surgery or the medications, or whatever. I needed to count on others for this. The list included my parents, my brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, and some of my closest friends.  It is one thing to ask your family to look after you when you are chair-ridden, and they had been with me through the entire journey so far, but coincidentally, my parents were on vacation at this time. Not just any vacation - it was a long time planned, dream vacation in Hawaii.  As much as they wanted to be there for me, their plans were set in stone, and I needed to ask others for help.  

I never thought that I would have to ask my friends, "Hey, can you come hang out with me? You will have to bring me ice packs every half hour, and I can't move to get anything to do anything on my own... I probably won't be loopy from the surgery anymore though.... I hope." I felt like I had given up control over part of my life. This ability to move fast and to walk without thinking about it was gone from my life. I had limiters put on me. These limiters felt like they were limiting my freedom, but they were protecting my future. If I had broken my limits, I would have likely injured my knee again, and that was one of the last things that I wanted. As much as I didn't want to ask for this help, I knew that I needed to. So the day after my surgery, my three best friends came over and took care of my needs and I was forced to let them.

Learning to walk again was quite a task. Here is this mindless task that I learned to do as a child that I have been doing for years, and I can't do it anymore. I had to relearn how to bend and straighten my leg correctly again; I didn't even have the strength to lift my leg behind me, and it was so weird. Here I was, trapped in the slow motion of crutching along, then limping, then the desire to run but not being able to let myself.  

For the first part of my recovery, I wasn't allowed to kneel. Another task that we take for granted and we don't think about, but during this time I yearned to kneel before Jesus. I felt out of place and wrong not being able to. I needed to recover though and not push this limit, so I took this pain and brought it before Jesus. During Mass, we are to give Him homage to the best of our ability, not the best that we have ever done. I was not able to kneel at the time, but I could still give Jesus the best that I had. Today, my knee still hurts sometimes when I kneel, but I am able to offer this pain to the Lord. I also worried that people would notice me not kneeling and would judge me for this. At the start of Love Begins Here this past summer, we had an adult training day that started with Mass. I was able to kneel at this point, but I definitely didn't have as much strength in my knee as I would have liked. When it was time to kneel, I put my good knee down first and tried to bend my other knee, but realized that I couldn't put my foot fully behind me. It just wouldn't do it. Doing the only thing that I could like to do, I grabbed my foot and lifted it behind me to give me the boost I needed. I was nervous, as I do not like being the center of attention, and I looked around me to see if I got away with what I thought to be a very humiliating process. I, of course, didn't get away with this and spent the remainder of Mass feeling embarrassed that someone noticed my weakness, but also amused realizing how funny it must have looked to those around me.  

This whole experience was a chance for God to tell me to "Slow down!" I was always busy, constantly going, and God literally had to slow me down. It took this injury to show me that I was being too worldly and too focused on the next task or next thing to entertain me. I was being completely independent, and God used this humbling time to prove to me that I needed Him and needed others.  

TL: DR

  • You missed the good part, go read the whole thing
  • God knows us more than we know ourselves.  He knows our troubles and faults and how to fix them 
  • Humility comes in a lot of forms
  • Not letting people help is not humility, just another form of pride 
  • God has a funny way of humbling us sometimes.  
  • I am part robot now.  

Paul Jozwiak | LBH Core Team alum & salt missionary

Lindsay Becher