Friday, March 6, 2009

Step by Step

When Rebecca first acquired her cast, I was impressed with her progressive mobility. She seemed to be listening to her body and testing out small improvements bit by bit, with no urging from the rest of us.

She began by lifting her legs, then scooting around, then standing, before walking and even climbing (Did I mention she once climbed over the gate on the stairs before I found out? Yikes!). It seemed to come so naturally.

Fast forward a few weeks to cast removal. At first she didn't even want to unbend her knee and foot, which I understood; it hurt to change that four-week-old position. After a good night's sleep, that issue was resolved, but Becca still spent any upright time balancing on her good leg, dangling the other. On day 2 she hobbled a bit, but decided her foot hurt and made no more attempts. Day after day, she scooted around, unwilling to put her foot down.

This morning Len and I laid down the law: multiple, brief attempts at weight bearing, flexing, and pushing would now be required (with screen time and other privileges as incentives). During her second session this morning I mentioned that all her scooting was going to make BOTH legs weak.

I don't know what finally pushed her, but by mid morning Rebecca was dressed in a princess costume (complete with heels!), walking around supported by the furniture. A few hours later, she was truly walking on her own. The heels may have actually helped by keeping her left foot in the preferred tip-toe position.

I find it interesting that Becca handled two similar situations in such different ways: one by constantly testing herself and progressing, the other with fear and unwillingness to even try. She had to be nudged--hard--to do what needed to be done.

This reminds me of the spiritual life. Some of us are self-motivated and keep plugging away at developing virtue, while others need a push. Different temperaments and personalities tend one way or another, but Becca's situation shows me that now and then we can all use some nudging.

Sharing goals with someone is a good way to be accountable. And maybe Lent can motivate me (us?) to keep going and growing.