Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Knee

I have dislocated my left kneecap four times—in four different states.

#1. California (2005): While building a sandcastle on a camping trip to Big Sur. First ambulance ride and trip to the ER.
#2. Idaho (2008): While going down the bunny hill on a snowboard. It slid right back in. No pain, just freaky. Didn't think much of it. I almost actually forgot about this one.
#3. Washington, D.C. (2011): While shopping in Urban Outfitters. Second ambulance ride and trip to the ER.
#4. Utah (2011): While going to sit down in my chair in my cubicle in the Church Office Building. Caught it with my hand, and it eventually popped itself back in.

(Which is the most embarrassing story? I'd vote for #3. It was definitely the most painful one. I know that physically I would not have been able to handle any more pain than I did that night. Dramatic? Let me know what you think next time you dislocate your knee cap. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I thought my knee was going to explode.)

The pain is excruciating. But once it's back in place, it's instant relief. Aside from the crutches, braces, bruises, scar tissue and swelling, it's left mental scars. I am terrified of it happening again. I have trouble falling asleep because I keep having flashbacks of the incidents. Throughout the whole day, I daydream about it happening again, and I start hyperventilating and freaking out. In fact, as I sit here and write this blog, I have to concentrate on my breathing.

The freak out moments get even worse when other people talk about their injuries. One of my colleagues told me that his daughter dislocated her kneecap as she was going down the stairs and she fell all the way down. Now, I am scared of going downstairs.

The anxiety eases up a bit when I wear my brace, but it's just so dang uncomfortable. I'm seeing an orthopedic surgeon in a week and a half. Even if the answer is surgery, I am so open to that idea because I can't stand walking around not knowing if and when it will happen next.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Decade Later, We Remember

Ten years have past since the events of September 11, 2001. I was 12. I was in seventh grade at Louis Pasteur Middle School. I remember the moment. The moment that my world froze, long enough for me to take in particular details about my surroundings. The first memory I have of that day is of my dad and I.

I walked into the family room and there he was. Just standing there watching the horrible events unfold on the news. I'm not sure what was said—if anything. But I could feel that something horrible was happening. We both just stood there. I don't know for how long, but long enough for my eyes to open up to the world. Long enough for me to realize that the world was bigger than my middle school life, bigger than my little city in Northern California. Something was happening that was much more important than the fact that I was wearing my favorite, sparkly, silver headband with my white uniform shirt. This little 12-year-old "sevie" was witnessing history.

The next thing I remember was my dad driving me to school. (Though, there may be some discrepancies in my account—my dad doesn't remember driving me to school that morning. He says he had to go in extra early for work.) It was over the radio that we learned that the first tower collapsed. The emotions of the radio newscaster were humbling.

School was different that day. The conversations of my peers no longer revolved around their rainbow toe socks or whatever else junior high schoolers worry about. Even at 12, we knew things had changed. School started with English and ended with PE. But really we just watched the news. I don't remember seeing some of my Muslim friends that day. In PE, Mrs. Postelnek had us sit on our little designated spots on the blacktop. She talked to us and tried to help us understand.

I think every child who could understand even a little of what was happening grew up that day. This was the first news event that I remember extensively paying attention to.

Here are a few excerpts from my journal on September 12, 2001:

"Yesterday was a horrible day! Thousands of people died."

"Everyone here in America is putting flags up. My mom and dad [both] bought one so I don't know what my dad is doing with the extra one."

"President Bush just got through a long vote for president and now this. I mean, it's like we are living through history. Many people are calling this Pearl Harbor II. All malls, movie theaters, roads to the dams, and many big places are closed."

"September 11, 2001 was a day that will be printed in history books and always be remembered."

"I don't think I will be getting on an airplane for a long time."

I had this doll named Molly, and I also had a lot of accessories for her. She was from the American Girl series. In my journal it also says that I pulled out her little flag and put it in my doll's hand. My 9 year old sister did the same for her Kirsten doll. My two youngest sisters were 4 and 5. They don't remember anything about that day.

For ten years I have watched over and over again the video footage of 9/11 and seen many still photos. Every time, my heart drops to my stomach. Every time, I am in awe. And every time, I feel paralyzed.

I will always remember that day. It's been ten years and I have grown into an adult. But whenever I think of that day, I will always feel like that 12-year-old girl in her favorite, sparkly, silver headband, who finally saw what the world was like. The girl who was scared and unsure of what would happen, but who had a great love for her country.


Friday, September 9, 2011

The Unknown

The unknown is full of mystery and adventure. It can stir feelings of fear, failure, excitement, faith and hope. Christopher Columbus said, "You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."

Well, Mr. Columbus, I haven't crossed any oceans lately. But I have done a great deal of moving forward into the unknown. This past year alone, I've come across many of my own storms and my own rainbows. With the way my life has been, I'm lucky if I can say where I will be and what I will be doing in one week's time. During the past twelve months, I have lived in Idaho, California, Washington, D.C. and Utah. That's a lot of packing and unpacking. That's a lot of time spent not wanting to commit to surrounding environments, knowing that in a short time I will most likely be leaving again.

But finally—gratefully—I think the waves in my ocean will shortly be settling down for awhile (but if I've really learned anything from 22 years of life, I will probably eat these words).

The unknown is a time for change. Am I the same person I was one year ago? No. And I am better for it. I have more confidence in myself and more faith in a great God than I ever thought I could have. Charting unknown territory requires one to push themselves further than they ever thought possible. It calls for courage. And soon you find you have more than you thought. It calls for faith. And soon your trust in God grows. It calls for strength. And soon you find your weaknesses becoming a fortifying power. It calls for humility. And soon you find yourself on your knees, bowing before the Lord—lower than you've ever before bowed. But then you rise, higher than ever, ready to take on the world.

The unknown is a scary thought. But that's all it is. Just a thought. God has a plan for you like He has a plan for me. His plan is solid if we make right choices. And with Him at my side, I'm willing to lose sight of the shore.