original letter (2/26/12): I am so worried! Three months ago, Nate (11) was asked to be a guest-player at a very high level soccer tournament in Virginia 12 days from now. Although twice as many apply, only 350 teams are allowed to compete in this nationally ranked weekend.
Nate has never played at a tournament of such renown, and is especially excited to play with old teammates. The whole family is planning to go to cheer him on while reuniting with our Michigander- friends. But it is all at risk, because Nate got hurt.
Nate is a soccer player extraordinaire; he scored 5 goals in one game a week ago, playing in a league with 15-yr-olds. But Friday, he was learning to ski. It was one of those times where you wish you could just
turn the clock back a bit, and make a different choice. Maybe if I had made him ski right by me? Maybe I should have left him home with Dad? Maybe I jinxed our day when I jokingly said, “My only rule today is that Nate doesn’t get hurt!”
His soccer team was supposed to have “the most important game of the season” on Saturday and the manager asked them not to do anything athletic on Friday; but this homeschooler ski-trip had been planned for months! Besides, it was the last chance to go skiing in NC this season – and the only chance to take a ski lesson before we go skiing in Colorado (the BIG mountains) in December. So we said a prayer and went.
Nate twisted his knee sometime around 2:00pm, and his older brother kindly escorted him to the car, unbeknownst to me, because I was still on the beginner hill with the younger two. Nate had decided to venture with the older boys on an intermediate slope. At the 4:30 departure, I could hear sniffles in the back seat. An hour later, we stopped for dinner, and he could barely walk into the restaurant. By the time we left, I carried him to the car, and he was in all-out tears. I asked him what hurt and he said, “I don’t know if I am more in pain because my knee hurts, or because I know I am letting my team down; there’s no way I can play tomorrow!”
Rain cancelled the big game. Phew!
Three days later, he is still limping, although not crying. It seems better than Friday for sure.
But I am still worried.
Tomorrow, I will call the orthopaedic specialists to see if we can get an evaluation, and I am nervous. I’m the kind of personality that weighs the possible outcomes to determine my worry:
- He will heal in time for the tournament.
- The injury is serious and will not allow playing in the tournament, and he’ll miss part or all of the spring soccer season.
- He has a career-ending injury.
Now that I say that I remember why I’m worried! I guess I’m a mom and that’s what we do…to an extent.
The real answer is: God is in control, and no matter what happens short term or long term, it will be fine.
Nate loves the verses Proverbs 3:5-6 (“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”) He often cites it as the reason he was born. You see, when he was 3-years-old, I told him of a sad day for me, when I had miscarried a baby.
I had told him, “I was so sad that the baby died. I didn’t understand at the time of my sadness, but God had a better plan. If I had never miscarried that baby, then I would never have had YOU!”
I remember his eyes sparkling with delight when He realized he had such a special role in God’s plan. I have heard him telling others this story with such zeal, almost evangelically.
On a completely different note: years ago, I had 2 toddlers in car seats, and I once left the house in a huge hurry. (OK, it happened more than once, but this one I really remember!) As we pressed the speed limit down El Dorado Parkway in Cape Coral, FL, one of the toddlers complained she wasn’t buckled and she “couldn’t do it!” I kept encouraging her, but to no avail; I had to stop the car. Pulling off the road a mile from my house, I got out of the large truck, walked all the way around to the back right seat and buckled her before walking all the way back around to the driver’s seat, and I continued down the road. “Uggh!” I thought. “Life is so SLOW going at the pace of a toddler!” One mile further, approaching a four-way-stop, I saw a car coming from my left race through the stop sign at about 60mph, continuing straight as if running from something. At that moment, I thanked God for my “slow” toddlers who had just saved us from an accident.
Who knows the number of times “angels watched over me” and I was unaware. As the Amy Grant song says, “a reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way.” When we are late because we made a wrong turn or had to wait on a train, I often think of the “reckless” car I probably missed.
The problem is: the “angels” are sometimes disguised as miscarriages, slow toddlers or sprained knees.
As I “weigh the possible outcomes” of Nate’s injury, here’s what I know:
– There are so many lessons that will be learned. During bedtime prayers, Nate had a new perspective of what we take for granted – like knees. He had a different view on handicapped children, when he didn’t want to limp in church. He was more thankful for the times that he was able to play outside when he was stuck inside for the weekend.
– Regret will not change the past. There’s no “jinxing” nor “shoulda coulda woulda’s.” What happened is because God allowed it to happen.
– Worrying will not change tomorrow, but it will waste time of today.
– I don’t have to understand, but I can trust.
Because I trust God for my eternity, I can certainly trust Him with the next 24 hours.
(and I will still be praying for Nate, as he floats along in “the basket”! 🙂 )
I have an update (3/1/12) to the letter above: After two doctor appointments, an MRI and one physical therapy session, we have determined that Nate has an MCL sprain- yay! That is the best news we could ask for in his condition! No tear! and no ACL involvement! In addition, he limped into physical therapy this morning and danced out of it. So stretching and exercise are going to help some of the pain. He has been under chains since last Friday, so his sanity and mine have been tested, but we are letting loose now! Although ligaments take 4-6 weeks to heal completely, the tournament next weekend can go on- based on his pain level. If he starts limping again, no tournament. He has daily physical therapy and ice. We praise God for the news! and I continue to pray for Nate’s character development and healing this week. Thank you for caring, -Terri
A second update (3/7/12) : Although he made a valiant effort, Nate has a knee that is not matching his heart, and I think he will be saying “hi” to old friends from the sideline instead of playing in the big tournament this weekend. Prov 3:5-6 …even with a broken heart. 🙂
Last update 3/29/12, re-stated here from “Kneeded” Update: I just thought I would update you, because you have asked how Nate is doing since his skiing injury 2/24- which was reinjured when he tried to play soccer 2 weeks later, getting ready for an important tournament. I had put some updates on that letter, Miscarriages, Slow Toddlers and Knees, but this week, we were blessed to see him play soccer again. He went to practice Tuesday, with instructions from the therapist about not playing the entire practice, but taking it easy. God has really blessed us with a good therapist, Dennis at Raleigh Orthopedic Physical Therapy, who seems like is in the mind of my 11-year-old. He knew that Nate would not know how to play “half-way” and didn’t want him to learn to play that way, anyway. He said, “When you are on the field in a game or at practice, give it 100%. But only be on the field 50% until you have full healing.” It has been three weeks since the 2nd injury, and I guess it was enough for my little 100%-er to get back at it. Nate is concerned about his game Sunday – that he would accidentally give it 150%, 🙂 but I told him that’s in God’s hands. He just needs to do his best. Thanks for caring! -Terri