For the last six weeks my left shoulder has been messed up. The collarbone I broke in the bike accident prompted the doctor in the hospital to tell me that my shoulder and arm were hanging . . . connected to my body by nothing but muscles and nerves. . . . which, by the way, was not an especially pleasant thing to hear and ponder. During the six weeks that have passed since I flew over the handlebars, my bones have been healing while my shoulder muscles have atrophied. Up until that point, my 54-year-old shoulder didn’t miss a day of working and moving just the way it was created to do. On July 30th, that all stopped. And then came my first visit to Brenda the physical therapist last Thursday.
Before meeting Brenda, I was told that she’s an experienced physical therapist (62-years-old!) who is a “miracle-worker” when it comes to shoulders. After two visits and a couple of hours of Brenda moving my shoulder in every possible direction, I can tell that while things are nowhere near back to normal where my arm meets my torso, things are on their way to getting there. In other words, there’s some hope.
Yesterday when Brenda had me moving my shoulder in the therapy pool, my counting through a host of exercises was interrupted by thoughts of what once was. . . specifically, a shoulder that functioned so normally that I took it for granted. My thoughts quickly shifted to July 30th and the moment when all of that changed. Now, after five-plus weeks of things not being the way they once were when they were the way they were supposed to be, I’m hoping, longing, and waiting with great expectation for the restoration of my shoulder so that I might be able to one day function fully again.
That deep longing and the history of my left shoulder parallels a simple life reality that we all deal with on a daily basis. God made all things and declared them “good.” All things functioned according to His plan. Then, in our rebellious “flip” over the handlebars of lives that we decided we knew how to steer better than the One who made us, it all came undone. And whether we know it or not, we long for what once was to be restored. That longing drives all that we do, all that we are, and all that we seek in life.
I want Shalom – God’s original, intended, universal flourishing and intended functioning – to visit my shoulder and to visit it quick. After six weeks of spending every night laying motionless on my back, this man who loves the freedom to stretch and roll around in bed needs to be freed to do that once again. I’m longing for that day (night) to come and to come soon. I want my bones to be free of the stiffness and soreness that’s been there since the wreck. But even more than that, I know that I want the “final restoration of all things” that Peter preached in Acts 3 – that restoration of God’s Shalom – to be ushered in with the new Heavens and the new Earth. . . beyond just my shoulder, to all things.
Tomorrow morning, Brenda will be bending my arm all over the place once more. . . and once again, I’ll be pondering the beauty of God’s Shalom and the hope that exists for those who are in Christ.