For the first time in what has felt like forever, I am vacationing with my family. Not that our family hasn’t been vacationing. It’s just that I haven’t always been able to play along.
So much time has gone by where I have been merely the cheerleader. Not that it’s a bad gig, but I’ve missed out. I spent a lot of years in poor health and unable to join in the fun. Regardless, vacation has always been a joy. Even if seen from a different vantage point.
But now, it’s different. I am riding a wave, literally, off the shore of Tamarindo. I’m healthy. I’m mobile. I can get my hands dirty. This vacation, I am able. My kids notice, my husband notices, but most of all, I feel it.
I have done it! I have joined the fun, and we’ve only just started. Costa Rica will be known as a pivotal experience for me and my family.
Then it hits me.
Metaphorically, and literally.
At first, I thought it was my son. I looked for him to see if he was ok as he popped up out of the water like nothing had happened, because to him, nothing had. Whatever hit me, hit so hard I could not believe it was just a wave. I couldn’t walk without my knee popping out of joint. The pain tweaked, sending chills through my stomach making me want to throw up and/or pass out. I had to be carried out by two men, wet and screaming, in a bikini. Having put on a few more pounds than I’d like to admit, that was humiliating.
I had joined the fun. It had only just started.
Not the pivotal experience I had in mind.
Realizing the metaphor of my life-- between starting up a business and working my tail off to keep a different one thriving, I had neglected myself. I knew better. I am a health coach, for goodness sake! That means more than physical health. It’s also mental, emotional, and spiritual. I ignored the wave rising over my head, choosing to believe it wasn’t going to hit me.
I found myself at a local clinic overrun with real free range chickens, where they sent me to the nearest hospital. This hospital had only 6 beds and was two hours away. A very wet, painful, humbling two hours away.
It was worth the wait.
Because on the other side there happened to be a local Orthopedic sports doctor who had just finished a training program for the Miami Heat in Florida. He was called in for a different emergency and was able to see me when I arrived. He popped my knee back into place, did an X-Ray, gave me some pain meds and told me I would need surgery.
I learned a few lessons. This could happen to anyone, big or small. Attentive or distracted. The wave may not be huge, but it is powerful, and I think we underestimate it.
But we can’t any longer.
We take so many things for granted in this life. It is easy to sit around and complain about health insurance, politics, getting onions on your cheeseburger when you specifically asked for no onions. Or perhaps getting too busy to stop and live for a moment.
Sometimes, it takes a wave. For most of us, it’s not a literal wave, but it’s just as effective.
It’s time we step outside of ourselves, embrace the world around us and our purpose in it. Live the little moments. Meet the needs of those around us. But most of all, remember who we are and not let our busy schedules swallow us whole.
We need to take care of ourselves, and those around us. Whatever that looks like. The great thing about the word health is that it is so universally applicable. What does your mental health look like? Your community health? Physical, emotional, relational, financial, etc. Is the wave starting to rise?
Don’t ignore it.