When I was a kid, I thought crutches were incredibly cool. I was not the only one. Anyone who had a pair and happened to be sitting was besieged with requests to try them. We would take turns swinging and hopping around on them. Then I ripped the ligaments in my right ankle and got my own pair. Not so fun or cool then, navigating stairs, having to wear both straps of my backpack (which was Not Done at my school), chafing under my armpits. At home, I did a lot of hopping without them, choosing to crawl up and down the stairs.
Crutches are temporary necessities. We do not want to use them all the time. I am, of course, talking now about our metaphorical crutches, the caffeine, the cigarettes, the secret brownies, the second drink, the fourth hour of television. It is not easy to give them up, even if we are better. When my cast came off, I had an atrophied calf and an ankle I was afraid to put weight on. The crutches kept me from the pain of walking, but to truly heal, I had to stop using them and go through the discomfort of rebuilding muscle and balance.
I recently gave up caffeine, again. I always joke about Coke and Diet Coke (we call them crack and diet crack at my house) being easier to get than sleep. I’ve spent the last week realizing how sleep-deprived I really have been and giving my body the chance to heal. Now that the caffeine headaches are gone and I’ve taken several million naps, I feel much better.
Let’s always be on the lookout for our crutches. Let’s ask if we really need them or if we are choosing not to grow or heal by using them.