How a Broken Toe Helped My Broken Heart

“You stupid, stupid, stupid toe!” I said angrily under my breath as I began to limp to a large rock on the side of the trail where I was running. Sitting down, I quietly cursed my foot, actually my toe, that stupid toe, that I broke three weeks earlier.

It’s been raining for two days and the sun finally came out and brought with it beautiful weather, or what I call “running” weather. When those days happen here in Texas, you don’t have to look far to see runners of all types putting in the miles. I’m fortunate enough to live in area in that has amazing trails and beautiful views and I so desperately wanted to breath in the clean air and feel the blood pumping through my legs, but that stupid broken toe hindered my plans.

Sitting on that rock I started to cry, ugly cry and and I really didn’t care who saw me. All the frustration of not being able to run as far and as fast as my legs and lungs wanted spilled down my cheeks. But really, the tears weren’t tears for my inability to run. No, that toe, on my left foot was the dam that broke and all the grief of the past two weeks spilled over it and crashed in large drops of tears into the grass around the rock on which I sat.

I know, I KNOW, three weeks is not long enough for a broken bone of any kind to heal. My third toe on my left foot hadn’t healed enough to endure the pounding that I wanted to put it through, and I knew that, yet there I sat, sweaty and sobbing, because my toe and my heart hurt.

For two weeks I have taken care of everyone else. I tried to make sure everyone else was tended to and had a shoulder to cry on and hand to hold. I was the ear that listened and arms that held family members as the grief of loosing Val crashed over us in relentless waves. Making myself available, communicating details, helping plan the services of someone much too young to be in heaven, and doing her hair and makeup one last time.

God gives grace for us to do the hard things and I know I have operated in grace for two weeks, but yesterday, sitting on a rock, crying about a throbbing toe, I knew that grace was lifting and I needed to take care of myself.

Broken bones can’t heal in three weeks, and they certainly can’t heal if we keep pushing ourselves in spite of the pain. The only thing that happens to broken bones that are not properly tended too is they don’t heal correctly. My toe, as small and as “stupid” as it seems to me, has to heal ALL THE WAY in order for my running to be enjoyable again.

Likewise, a broken heart has to have time to heal. Yes, the world goes on. Our world, here at Teambohl HQ has continued. Laundry has to be done, food cooked, kids taken to school and work has to happen, but that does not mean that the hearts of my tribe or myself are healed. It just means that we are functioning at a slower pace and I am learning to walk in grace towards myself.

I am truly endeavoring to set aside the idea that I need to be caregiver for everyone during this season. Falling upon the sword of martyrdom will only create resentment within myself and will leave me less than whole and healed and I don’t want to be THAT girl. I don’t want to be the girl who has deep hurts and a heart that is always fractured and not fully whole because I, ME, MYSELF, placed the unholy idea in my head that I have to deny the grieving process in order to help others.

This is the new normal for us, for our family. It’s fresh and ugly and hurts so bad, but I know that proper self care, time, and acknowledgment of the pain will bring about healing for both my heart and my toe.

Xoxo, Gena

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