I used to have nice handwriting.
As I opened Christmas cards this year with beautiful pictures and family updates, all I could notice was how great everyone’s handwriting was on the envelopes.
While recognizing everyone brings their A game this time of year rocking their newfound calligraphy skills, every envelope was a reminder that my Kindergartener’s handwriting is on par with mine.
I continue to try to use my impaired right hand, write with it, every day. Taking notes at conferences or in groups when everyone sees what a struggle it continues to be big gulp moments. Needless to say, we use pre-addressed envelopes.
Boasting in our weakness is easier said than done.
A few years back I was asked to join a softball league. My initial reaction? Heck yeah! I had played through high school and was excited to get some sun and meet some new people.
But then, when I really thought about what my right-handed throw would look like, if my swing would be impaired, if I’d have to learn to throw with the left and catch with the right while everyone watched, my excitement quickly deflated.
When I reached my “Maximum Medical Recovery” (MMR) after six months of therapy, I was encouraged to continue to use my right hand and do exercises so that I don’t fall into muscle atrophy again.
Now, if I have to write something quickly, I use my left hand. When I’ve got time, I use my right until the finger nerves cramp or the shoulder gets too sore.
I know continuing to challenge my weaknesses will be a lifelong journey.
I played on that softball team and it was a humbling experience. My right-handed throws were crooked. They were weak. I dropped some balls. I struck out a lot.
But I made new friends. My precision got better. My wrist was strengthened.
Letting others into my struggle, owning my weakness, was actually kind of freeing.
Until that point, I had tried to only write when I was alone so that others wouldn’t see that I was still battling to get back after my MMR.
Let’s all do each other a favor and stop trying to portray a false perfect.
Sometimes, though, our wounds are still too raw to share.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read the letter from the driver of the Mack truck we collided with, the man that likely saved our lives, recounting the day without losing it a bit. Not a year from now, five years from now, probably not ever. And maybe that’s OK.
There is healing in rawness. Healing in vulnerably sharing your weakness to let those hiding their unspoken wounds know they are not alone.
“You are where you are to help others where they are.” -Ann Voskamp
The other day I received an email from a dad whose daughter went through a similar accident last year. She “broke everything but her arms, neck, and back and has had 25 surgeries.” Pray for this family if you get a chance. Pray for Eden’s left arm and leg, for her seizures to cease, to start talking again, and for a total and complete recovery. He ended by thanking me for my willingness to share my story.
By sharing our scars, even the rawest and most vulnerable ones, we help others feel more confident in owning theirs.
How have you owned your weakness? Who can you help by sharing where you are?