Monday, December 10, 2012

Lessons From Getting Injured

Since my power tool accident, I've had some time to think about the lessons I've learned. I'd like to share them.

Always wear gloves when working
This saved me from a VERY serious accident.

The cost of short-cuts
I took a short cut with my tool to save time and money. I knew I was taking a risk and wasn't using the machine the way it was designed, but I wanted to finish fast. I made speed a priority instead of safety. What I should have done was buy a belt sander and replace my broken orbital sander. In the end, what seemed like a short cut, ended up costing me much more. Time-wise: this sets us back WEEKS instead of the hour to go buy a new tool. This will also cost us HUNDREDS financially since we won't be able to move out when we want to (see the next point).

I know this lesson (don't take short cuts), and have applied it effectively many times. But it got the better of me in this moment because I let my priorities get out of balance. I think the same principle applies to other habits: speeding in your car, eating fast food, and drinking caffeine. Sure, we can get away with these short-cuts for a while, but at what inevitable cost? Besides, my experience is that I really don't "save" very much when I do take the short-cut.

I also want to re-evaluate other short-cuts in my life. I found myself asking the following questions: Am I'm skimping too much on my relationships? My financial generosity? My time reading the Bible and praying? Reading books? This injury has really brought my priorities and choices back into focus. I don't have answers for these, but it served as a great reminder to not take short-cuts, no matter how innocuous it seems.

Make Plans, but be flexible
We had plans: Refinish the cabinets over Thanksgiving. Make other repairs during Christmas. Move out and finish repairs in January. Then teach a finance class and prepare for a Mexico Mission trip. We knew it was a tight timeline, and now it's impossible. As a result, of my injury we now won't move out until after March. I won't lie: It's frustrating, but I'm working on being flexible and creating new plans to guide us. The act of creating plans isn't bad. As a matter of fact, I highly encourage it since it serves as a road map. However, it's also important to remain flexible, realize plans do change, and be OK with it. I'm still working on the "be OK with it" part.

Jessi is awesome
Not only did she tie my shoes, cut my food, and do all sorts of other daily tasks for me. BUT she also continued working on the cabinets while I sat on the couch watching James Bond movies! The entire time she kept a positive attitude. She would even build me up because I felt like a total loser for getting hurt. I am blessed beyond belief!

I am mortal
I turned 29 in October. It wasn't that big of a deal. I don't feel older, and most importantly all my annual medical tests indicate I'm actually healthier than last year. One can't help but feel immortal when his vital signs actually improve!

But now...
Staring at a scar I earned in less than a second...
Wondering if I'll ever get my full hand strength back...
I know I'm going to die.

I know that I'm inside a fragile body, and that I'm not really immortal. More importantly, I FEEL like I'm not immortal. You know how they say young people feel immortal? I fully acknowledge I was in that camp. I was proud to be in that camp. And now I'm no longer in that camp. It's horrible.

I'm sure that eventually my hand will fully heal, and I'll slowly forget about my mortality, but I hope I don't. I hope I remember that I am fragile, that I need to be safe, and I also need to make the most of each day, with no short-cuts, so that I have no regrets when my final day comes.

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