As you might know, two weeks ago, I took a nasty fall on marble in downtown Nashville. I bruised my left arm and my right knee, bruising the bone.
Oddly, for someone who is mostly sedentary and well padded, I have injured my knee more than once. The last time, after limping for a week, I went to the doctor. She sent me to a physical therapist. There I learned a very important lesson. When you injure yourself, at first, it makes sense to rest and not cause further damage by putting too much pressure and weight on the knee. But at some point, if you don’t move it, it will get so stiff that it won’t ever want to move again. So you’ve just got to grit your teeth and do it.
Or let the physical therapist do it. He iced my knee for a few minutes and then he started to move my knee in bicycle motions. When I left, I was walking normally with no pain. And with major respect for physical therapists.
So this time, I knew the drill. I did the exercises the doctor gave me. And when I could bend my knee, I started making myself walk upstairs in a normal fashion. It took another few days to be able to walk down the stairs normally. (Before then, I had to put down my left leg and then bring down my left leg, repeated for each step.) A few days ago, I came home and was in the kitchen before I realized I had walked up the steps without hesitation. I was healing.
The lesson here is that is time for rest and a time to get back up and get out there. The wisdom is knowing when one phase ends and the next begins.
Two weeks ago, President Jimmy Carter, 95, fell at his home and had to have fourteen stitches. A few days later, he was in Nashville, helping to build houses for Habitat for Humanity. Carter has long been one of my heroes. His commitment to service is unparalleled. At any point, in the last twenty-five years, he could have said, “I think it’s time for me to rest,” and no one would have faulted him. But he is still out there, living out his faith daily.
One week ago, I fell while trying to get a close-up photo of a statue in downtown Nashville. Somehow, in trying to keep my balance, I managed to slam my right knee, my left arm, and my left hip onto the concrete. By the time I got home, my knee was refusing to bend, and it made me a little sick to look at it. I went to the Vandy Clinic and had an x-ray. Nothing was broken, just bruised. I was told to rest, ice, and compress. Which I did.
Now, like most people, I often think of myself as the hero of my own story. I could imagine myself falling and continuing to do my job with aplomb. But let me be honest. I did not. I did not build houses. I did not rescue puppies. I did nothing heroic.
What I did was limp and complain. To be fair, I didn’t mean to complain. But it hurt to sit down. Then it hurt to stand up. It took three times longer than usual to walk to any destination. And the time it took to wrap and ice my leg meant I had to get up earlier to get to work. Yes, I went to work, but I’m pretty sure my colleagues in the library wished I’d stayed home.
But a lesson in humility is never wasted. No, I’m no Jimmy Carter. And I never will be. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t try.
As we recover from our malware incident, things are slowly getting back to normal. In the library, all is fixed except the student printing network. We have been printing student papers and assignments on staff printers in the back.
Tuesday I had a meeting with my boss. Telling her the printing issue, she asked, “Can’t we take the print management software off the printers until the server is fixed?”
To be honest, I stared at her for a few seconds, but I wanted to laugh. We had added the print management system to the printers. Certainly, we could take it off! But all I could think was “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Of course, the answer is pretty simple. I was too close to the problem. The two things (the print management system and the printers) were so entwined that I had started thinking of them as a single unit. It took someone outside of the library to ask the question.
Now it turned out it would have been too cumbersome for the overworked IT guys to remove the system off every computer. But they could remove it off some. So now we have six computers in the LRC where students can print. All seems well.
The moral of the story: You never know where a solution can come from. Don’t hide your problems. Share them.
If you looked at my to-do list for yesterday, you would probably think that I was quite productive. I completed 100% of my tasks. But to-do lists can be misleading. Most of the tasks I’d written down at the last minute, knowing my memory is not great.
What were some of the items?
- Take bread out of the freezer to make sandwiches for lunch.
- Put batteries in my LED candles for the fireplace.
- Write my mother.
- Study French.
- A cursory glance would show that some of these items were more important than others.
If you asked which of the items had the highest priority, I would say write and write my mother. But is that where I spent most of my time? No.
Now writing my mother was fairly easy. I had just seen her the day before, and most of the letter dealt with things we’d discussed then. So that was not a problem. It was written and in the mailbox before dark.
But I didn’t get to my writing until after 9 p.m. while I spent way too much of the day doing things that weren’t important and could have been put off with no consequence whatsoever. (Do you know how long it takes to take batteries out of the industrial-strength wrapping and then put them in twelve small candles? I do. Way too long.)
So if you judge my day by what got done on the to-do list, I am a winner. But if you judge by what important things got done, I’m a slacker.
Spoiler alert: I was a slacker.
But tomorrow is another day.