The Boot: A Lesson in Limitations and Love

About three weeks ago, I was in the last few moments of a freshmen orientation when I took a step backwards.


I honestly thought that one of the senior leaders I had just excused from the bleachers to help distribute class schedules had thrown a baseball at my calf or swung a bat at it. I look behind me to see who was there, but no one was in 20 feet of me. I finished the last few lines of the presentation and the freshmen exited.

I just stood there.

After a few moments, I limped over the bleachers. I knew something was up.

A trip to Urgent Care that evening provided me with some crutches which I used for the next week while I was on the road until I could finally see an Orthopedic Doctor.

The diagnosis? I had torn my calf muscle.

The good news? It was a tear of the upper part of the muscle, not the lower part allowing me a bit more movement than the average joe AND it wouldn’t require surgery.

Just the use of a boot for the next 6-8 weeks.

And so this has been my world.

I’m much slower when I walk. I hobble with the different height of my boot and my regular shoe. Moments ago I walked to the grocery store in downtown, and I could see how frustrated drivers were as they waited for me to finish crossing the intersection at a slower pace. I can’t do regular gym time. I couldn’t go to the beach over Labor Day Weekend. I’m not really able to swim at this exact moment or sail like I love to do at this time of the year.

So I’m definitely limited.

But what about all the weeks before the injury? I live in downtown San Diego. I could go sailing a lot more when I’m home. I could have gone to the gym in the weeks leading up to the injury (some additional time in Yoga might have prevented the injury all together). I had many evenings where the beach was a 10-15 minute drive away and the water still would have been warm.

But I didn’t embrace those opportunities.

I’m limited now by my injury, but weeks ago I limited myself.

Are we doing this?
Are we closing down doors that we could enter?
Are we limiting ourselves and robbing ourselves the chance for incredible opportunities and experiences?

Far too often, we are the ones holding ourselves back. We love to blame it on others or outside forces, but truly–many are rooting for us.

As limited as I feel now with my injury, I’ve realized the limitless nature of the love of people around me.

The school where I spoke offered to take me to the hospital (even though it was one of their busiest and craziest days of the year–I was able to get there myself, but their offer was sincere).

My next two speaking sites provided me a rolling office chair so I wouldn’t have to be on my feet with crutches and could still move around.

My parents (I was lucky enough to be up in the Bay Area where I grew up) drove my luggage to that airport for me and helped check in to my flight.

Flight attendants handled my crutches.

The doctors office rearranged schedules to allow me to see a doctor in my limited window home.

My wife has gone out of her way doing almost every household duty in the first few days of the injury and now running most of the errands. She, too, dealt with a Labor Day weekend that consisted of a lot of couch sitting instead of being outdoors and active in San Diego.

Friends and family have gone out of their way to allow me to still be part of gatherings, providing me the better seats and sometimes even waiting on me.

The list goes on and on.

And yet we often feel that the world is against us. Instead, the world is often looking for an opportunity to help and it is willing to do so if we let it.