Sometimes you’re cruising along in life and everything is just dandy, and before you can even say oops, you’ve slammed your shoulder into a tree at high speed and now your arm doesn’t move quite right. It’s not necessarily a tree, or a broken shoulder. That’s just what it is for me right now. Sometimes it’s getting fired, getting a nasty illness or losing a close friend. It’s a punctuation mark in life. Specifically, the period at the end of a paragraph.
Unlike the break at the end of a paragraph, these forced breaks are unplanned and generally unwelcome, but they are no less important that the exclamation points that come with moments of triumph.
As a culture, we are lousy at stopping. We thrive on momentum and feel that any stoppage is inherently negative. I get it. And yet, while moving fast, we are unable to really define our path, the faster you’re going, the harder it is to change direction. Sometimes you need a tree to get in the way and put an abrupt and painful stop to your trajectory.
These forced breaks provide us with time to contemplate, to sleep, to really appreciate the gifts that we have the tendency to take for granted. Sometimes, by having our physical energy stalled, we find ways to amplify our mental energy. New ways to be creative, an ability to see things that we couldn’t see when hauling ass through life.
As I sat there in the ditch on the side of the bike trail nursing my freshly broken shoulder blade, I realized that there were perfectly ripe blueberries everywhere, and as I snacked through the pain, I though about how I would have ridden all week without ever noticing this tasty treat sitting just off of the path. And what had previously just been a blur became a tangible gift.
Embrace the breaks in life, even if they include bones or hearts.