My husband is entering his eighth week of recovery from a broken foot. His injury was complex. His attending physician placed him in a cast and confined him to a wheelchair. The dislocation of the bone joints that occurred in conjunction with the injury will necessitate either surgery or some kind of orthopedic aid in the months to come. Until the prognosis becomes clearer, he sits in a wheelchair with his leg and foot in a bulky, fiberglass cast.
These past days have provided him with many challenges that can only be overcome by the help of others or by an extra degree of effort on his part. Things that before were ordinary and unproblematic have become tests in tenacity and opportunities for creativity. The need to make a simple trip across the kitchen to get a glass of water thrusts him into an internal debate. Is he thirsty enough to put forth the effort to get up from the sofa or chair where he had secured a comfortable resting place, pull himself into the hard-bottomed wheelchair, propel himself across the carpet and tile floor, evade pieces of furniture that stand as obstacles along his path, and take himself to the kitchen sink? Quite often he will just sit until a family member (who is usually me) comes within the sound of his petition.
Much of his daily routine has to be temporarily downloaded to someone else and all jobs that can be postponed are deferred. We tried a few hours at the mall, but that outing was certainly one of those save-to-another-day-when-the wheelchair-is-gone events. Some tasks, however, have to continue to be accomplished regardless of the impediment. Day to day still demands an expenditure of energy, but his predicament requires a refocusing of his efforts.
In times of crisis, casual desires are optional while critical needs continue to be mandated. The more importance we place on any necessity, the more determination we will apply to find the means to achieve the end. Hindrances and obstacles may arise to add difficulty to our quest; but the higher the priority of the need, the less deterring are the barriers. The higher the level of thirst, the more exertion will be expended to find the water.
Life seems to bring to us the ‘become thirsty, overcome obstacles, get the water’ scenario in a variety of packages. A man who becomes dry at his workplace may rise to the challenge of more education, thereby obtaining the refreshing of a new career. Another man, perhaps bound by some form of addiction, may reach out from his parched condition to find help, rise above the problem, and drink in a new life. A family in relational dehydration can seek counseling, press though difficulties to find solutions, and soak up joy from resolved conflict.
In the middle of all difficulty lies opportunity. When my husband is thirsty, he often waits for a family member to pass by. But, if sufficient time elapses and no one comes his way, necessity demands that he arises and, in spite of difficulty and restricting circumstances, find another solution to his dilemma. Outside of the rare exception when a person is in a desert, water is usually only a short distance away. In our society, we are surrounded with medical assistance, self-help groups, support groups, training, and education. We can dial up and dial in. Charity organizations, government-backed institutions, and the private business sector are available to meet every need known to the human race. Water, water everywhere! And, there is more than enough to drink for the person who, in the season of brokenness, will acknowledge his thirst, rise up from his current station, and begin the painful process of overcoming difficulties. At the end of the journey is a refreshing drink that will satisfy the parched and thirsty soul.