Nine months ago I tore my ACL. Seven months ago I had surgery. Today I was cleared to play again. Today is a day that at times I thought might never come. Today is one of the days I’ve been working so hard for. Today is a good day. Am I 100%? No, not yet, but I’ve reached a large milestone on my journey back.
For those of you who don’t know, on Oct. 15 I started my morning by reading the book the circle maker (I highly recommend it). In the chapter I was reading, Mark Batterson was talking about a prayer he prayed that changed his life. It was such a simple prayer, yet so difficult. The prayer was “Lord, complicate my life.” He said this prayer changed his life because with complications come hardships, but it’s in those that God takes control and changes our life. He said not to pray it unless you meant it, because God would complicate your life. I thought about whether or not I wanted to pray that prayer, I didn’t know if I was ready for whatever complications God would throw my way. In the end, I decided to pray it. That evening, I tore my ACL.
Those four words altered my life. They took away the game that I love. They took away part of my identity. But, they brought me so much more. They brought me to a place where I had to lean on God. They brought me to a broken place where I had to start really figuring out who I was. I found so much of my identity not just in soccer but in athletics and working out in general. Having gone through this, I have a greater appreciation for my sport, for the ability to exercise, and for people with injuries in general. Before, I didn’t understand the mental and emotional challenges that come with an injury. The physical challenges are difficult enough, but the part that completely breaks you is the mental challenge. Having gone through this, I’ve formed special bonds with people that I would never have been able to experience. I’ve also had the privilige to get to know some amazing people who I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet or get to know on a deep level (athletic trainers, doctors, etc.) I’ve truly realized how blessed I am by the people surrounding me. I was lifted up by so many different people’s notes, cards, emails, texts, phone calls, gifts, and prayers.
I can honestly say that I’m grateful for this experience, and I look forward to the rest of this journey as I keep working towards feeling normal. I know there will still be plenty of mentally tough days where I can’t compete to my full potential, where I’m scared/timid, where I get frustrated, but I am on the road to recovery, and each step gets me even closer. When I struggle at preseason, or during the season, or after, I will remember today and all the progress I’ve made, the awesome people in my life who support me and the joy that comes with persistance.