Monday, August 10, 2015

Best-Laid Plans Part II

Well so much for this "writing once a week" business...

Part I was an uneventful post. Part II nearly didn't happen.
"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
I actually had to look this one up. It's a phrase (or half phrase) that's often used, but like most common idioms I had no idea where it came from or what it's context was. Obviously the "Of Mice and Men," rang familiar transporting me back to Mr. Sigmar's freshman English class. Lennie. Gary Senise, not as legless Colonel Dan but George. Whoa! Rabbit trail...
The original comes not from John Steinbeck's classic novel, but a Scot poem titled, "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough," written by Robert Burns. Try and read it. It's pretty funny.
Needless to say the phrase is pretty self-explanatory:
Even with all our good intentions, crazy dreaming, and careful planning things can go amiss.
"[Poo] happens." 
 Another common phrase but I don't know if anyone can be (or would want to be) attributed to it.



We finished our season at Pacific Northwest Ballet the beginning of June and it was a rush to the finish line.
Between our final Rep of Carmina Burana and Concerto DSCH and our Encore Show that was live-streamed for all the world to see, we had our hands and schedules FULL. And if that weren't enough, for the 2nd half of our Encore show we re-staged all of Balanchine's Serenade- a ballet we hadn't performed in nearly 2 years.

© Angela Sterling Photography

By this time (as per usual) the number of names scribbled on Boyd Bender, our physical therapist's sign-up whiteboard had reached an all-time high. I actually don't know how accurate that last statement was, but it seemed like the list of walking (or dancing) wounded kept rising with every passing day. I was no exception to this - my right knee was weirdly swollen and no amount of Advil or icing seemed to help... it only got, well, worse.

© Angela Sterling Photography

But the point is that everyone was hurting in some way or other - we all were just trying to finish the race and claim our prize: 8 weeks off, and during the best summer Seattle's seen in decades!
Plenty of time to rest those aches and pains, get out of shape and then get back into shape before the season resumed in August.  At least that was my plan.

While I'm neither a mouse nor a man, my plans most certainly went awry.

MRI image of my right meniscus.
It should be solid black like the right most portion...
To make a long story short, I injured my knee Friday, May 15th. I finally received an MRI Thursday, June 25th. And the diagnosis was confirmed Monday, July 6th that I indeed would need arthroscopic surgery to repair and/or clean up my "macerated" meniscus.
The surgeon's words, not mine.
So much for this "getting back into shape" part - at least with regards to anything that required my knee to twist, torque or turn-out. Yep. That's basically all ballet.

Miraculously, my surgery was approved by Labor & Industries within a week and there was an opening in my surgeon's schedule for Monday, July 20th.
And I hadn't danced for 6 weeks.
I wouldn't dance for many more...



It's been three weeks since my surgery, and while by all other standards I'm doing amazingly well - walking, swimming, climbing stairs, riding stationary bikes, all without a brace or much pain - I can't help but struggle with feelings of frustration, of fear and of doubt.


40 days of Mono was nothing compared to this.
I find myself walking. Constantly walking. And while I convince myself that it's good for me, good for my knee, I feel the gnawing, the grinding of my soul.
If I'm honest, I can barely even sit still to write this post. The anxiety builds and I need to do something, anything to soothe the burning itch.

They say for every day of dancing you're off it takes two to come back. And I keep counting the days. 42. 84. 63. 126... mosquito bites to my heart-itch.
Both surgeon and physical therapist have said it'll take me 3 months to be fully back, but what exactly does that mean? And are they accounting for the month and a half that I was already off prior to having a portion of my meniscus cut out?

Plan? I feel paralyzed to plan for anything. The first question I'm asked by pretty much anyone these days is, "When will you be able to dance again?" But I have no clue.
And yet in this restless state I keep groping for any sort of plan that I can devise. Workout and therapy schedules. Exercise regimes. Anti-inflammatory diets. Striving. Controlling. All-consuming fire of Fear.
Can you relate?

But He asks me to trust. To rest. To recover. 

To remember His promises. That He will bring me back. He will!
That He has plan for my life. A good one. A great one! To prosper and not to harm; to give hope and a future.
Not cliché. But real. True. For me, right now. For everyone who calls, who prays and who seeks with all their heart.

So I call. I pray. I seek. With all my heart. Because this is no way to heal. No way to live. Endlessly wandering. Striving. Pushing too fast, too hard. Held captive by anxiety. Paralyzed by fear.
I remember what I've learned before (because I've had this lesson oh-so many times!). I remember what I've experienced before. His mighty miracles worked out in the world, worked out in me. How can I forget?!!! How utterly shortsighted I am!

Nothing is impossible for HIM! 
Jessika just rest!

So I stop counting days and a I start counting blessings. I let go of control. Of plans. And I make a conscious and concerted choice to relax the white knuckles of my heart and commit to Him these struggles that have consumed me. I lay them down and ask Him to establish my steps. One at a time. And with my now empty hands I grab His strong ones, and ask Him to lead me in the way everlasting. I want to walk by faith, and one day dance by it too. Whenever that may be. No pressure. Just patience.

So for now I rest in and enjoy the Now, receiving the gifts He's giving me Today. Thankful for what I can do. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Because if I'm following Him I have nothing to fear.
After all, He is the Master and He's got the best plan!


1 comment:

Laurel S said...

Jessika, I'm so sorry to hear about your injury! As a former PNB student, I've been reading your blog for a while and have especially enjoyed hearing how crucial a part Christian faith plays in your life. I wanted to offer some encouragement regarding knees...Back in 2008 I was rehearsing with my classmates in Studio C when I fell and tore my left ACL. The disappointment was profound because this was my senior year of high school and, instead of dancing Cortege Hongrois, I stood in the wings on crutches watching everybody else. Knee surgery sucks. Doing PT sucks. But it is amazing to discover how perfectly God has crafted the knee and to see it get a little bit stronger every day; even in working through the mental fear that comes with recovery, there's joy and determination that will carry you through. I'm glad to hear that you're resting in the Lord...He is the shelter in the storm. And there is hope ahead!

(in August, about 3 months after surgery, I returned to barre, and in December I was cleared to dance with full range of motion. 4 years of college and 2 dance jobs later, the knee is still holding up!)