Several years ago I took up running for the first time. I’ve given it up and taken it up again three times since then. But my first attempt at running was thwarted by a pretty serious injury, a stress fracture of my knee. And even though I’ve had surgery to repair it, it still gives me trouble to this day.
The other day, (that one day of spring that we had here in Michigan), when the sun came out, I was so anxious to get outside and run. I can’t even believe I’m saying that because most days I hate running. But anyhow, I couldn’t wait to get out and so off I went. Now, mind you, I haven’t really ran
much at all since my marathon last October. Six full months ago. But being that the last time I ran I finished 26.2 miles, I was feeling pretty ambitious. So I got out my earbuds, put on my (now too tight) running clothes and took off. I was feeling pretty good for a mile and even the second mile wasn’t awful. But my knee started bugging me and I was smart enough to turn around then. Mile three was tolerable but that fourth mile, well that one was no fun at all. My knee was killing me. That injury from almost twelve stupid years ago showed up to haunt me, and I hate it.
As I hobbled my way homeward, cursing my knee and the stupid reminder of something broken so long ago, I had this weird thought. (Ok, it’s a stretch but just track with me for a minute, I think this might make sense in the end.)
I was wondering how an injury from practically ages ago, that I thought had been dealt with, could still show up in my life now and then. Unwelcome, uninvited…but it shows up nonetheless. And that led me to wonder if the same thing isn’t true about broken relationships. Are all of the things that hurt me, all the broken parts, going to show up for my whole life? Following me around and haunting me at inopportune moments? Am I gonna be constantly limping my way through every relationship in my future? Because I can’t even imagine how terrible that would be.
I sometimes use my old injury as an excuse to not run. “Hey do you wanna meet up and do three miles?” “Oh, I’d love to, but ya know…my knee. I just can’t.” And I can totally see myself using old injuries in my relationships to keep people away if I’m not careful. I’ve never really been one to be guarded. I’ve always been open about pretty much everything with just about everyone. But I’ve noticed changes in myself recently that I don’t like, I’ve been a little more reserved with people. Giving short answers and not sharing things that I normally would. I have not isolated myself at all, but I’ve certainly disengaged a little bit with some people that I love. I don’t want to live my life like that. I’ll have to figure out how to fix that broken part.
One thing that I really hate is when people excuse away their own bad behavior. “I can’t help it that I’m always accusing you of doing things…but you know I have trust issues from my last boyfriend.” Or “You know I get defensive easily, I can’t help it. My ex-husband was always pointing out my flaws.” Whatever. If I become like that, somebody please punch me. I don’t EVER want to use my past hurts to excuse my future bad behavior. I’ll have to figure out how to fix that broken part too.
It’s frustrating to think that a bad relationship can have such an effect on future relationships. How can I expect to ever have a healthy relationship if I have all of these broken parts that are likely to start hurting if they get triggered by the slightest thing?
My hope is that this early self-diagnosis is going to be healthy for me. My doctor gave me a bunch of exercises and stretches to do to help out with my knee. He told me that it would never be 100% but that if I really work on it, it could be close. I’m hoping that a knee and a heart aren’t really all that different.