On onions and ACL injuries

IMG_9231I realized today I really wanted to write something on my blog, but had no idea what to write about.

And honestly, at first, onions popped into my head.

My mind eventually turned to where I was around this time three years ago. In September 2014, I hurt my left knee during a flag football intramural game. I drove back home and had my dad assess the already swelling and throbbing injury.

The next couple of days, my knee didn’t get better and I was scheduled for an MRI. The MRI results came back and the doctor confirmed our suspicions that I had torn my ACL. I would need reconstructive surgery if I wanted to be able to play basketball or other sports in the future.

One thing you should know about me: I hate needles and get pretty squeamish at the thought of a scalpel cutting into my flesh. So, surgery was pretty much my worst nightmare come true.

But I wanted to actually be able to play sports again.

In November 2014, I went in for surgery, where the doctor replaced my torn ACL with a portion of my own hamstring muscle combined with muscle from some person I’ll never know (I’ve dubbed him Stefan).

Let’s just say this was a hard time for me. The injury had happened early in my junior year of college, so I was missing that entire year of basketball and other sports. Physical therapy was a long process of re-learning how to walk correctly, trying to reach full extension with my knee and leg strengthening.

I remember searching Google, reading about other people who had torn their ACLs and promised it would get better in time. And I remember having a hard time believing them.

But I did believe something else. I knew God was there with me, throughout the entire process. My injury hadn’t come as a surprise to Him. No, He didn’t prevent it from happening, but He didn’t just abandon me when I was hurting.

I would not have been able to walk into that hospital, have the IV stuck in my arm and lie down on that hospital bed, while the doctor marked my knee with an X, if I hadn’t known God was in control. Trust me, I would have been freaking out. But I prayed for peace, and He gave me a quiet assurance that everything would be fine.

Maybe I will come back to the topic of onions.

Leo shrugging
Sometimes we have our lives planned out exactly as we think they should go. But just as Shrek said there are layers to ogres, there are also layers to life.

Often, we see only the outside layer — the immediate circumstances that surround us. And in life, those circumstances sometimes stink.

As we get deeper into life’s layers, however, we realize there’s more than just the immediate. It might be painful as we peel away those outer layers to get to the core of a situation. There might be some crying involved. There might be some chopping and dicing away.

But just as those steps are needed to prepare an onion to fulfill its part in a recipe, sometimes those steps are necessary for us in life — to grow, to mature, to develop into the type of person we choose to be.

What can you learn from these difficult times?

I would have never planned to tear my ACL and have surgery. But I can tell you that I now rarely take for granted my ability to run or play basketball. Sometimes that twinge in my knee is a great reminder of the journey it took to get to this point. And it reminds me of how God not only promised to take care of me, but how He followed through on that promise.

And if that was the only lesson learned from that particular moment in my life, I think it’s a pretty solid one.

Besides, now I have that much more in common with Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. Sorry, not sorry, I’m a diehard Patriots fan.

One thought on “On onions and ACL injuries

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