In the morning the ankle had grown to the size of a cantaloupe. It was a fat swollen mess. The doctor said it was the worst sprain he had ever seen and was surprised it wasn’t broken.

It would be months before I could walk without a crutch or stabilizing boot. Even after these had come off I would constantly reinjure the ankle as it had grown terribly weak and would not support itself the way an ankle should. One weird step on a stair or uneven ground and it would give out. I would be hobbling again for another week.

So I grew more careful. I would plot out easier walking paths, be vigilant for steps and situations where I could potentially twist the ankle again. It slowly began to get better.

Around six months later I was able to go for a short run for the first time since my ill-fated rugby adventure without pain. This had not been a life or death injury or even a broken bone, but the constant reinjury made me wonder if I would always be tending to my ankle. So being able to go for that run meant a lot to me at the time.

I was often annoyed with the injury but not upset. If the ankle hurt it hurt. And I would simply do what I could. I wasn’t holding it against myself that I could not just get up and run.

I sometimes wonder if we don’t have other injuries in our lives that are not unlike that sprained ankle. Areas that need our kind, unconditional care and attention. But instead we chide ourselves for not being able to run yet. Rather than getting better and healing, we keep reinjuring ourselves.

Perhaps there is room to take a kinder view, as your body insists you take when you are physically injured and unable to do what you expect yourself to be able to do.

Be nice to your hobbling self.

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