Tonight was an incredibly rough night at our house. My daughter Ashley, who plays on her high school varsity basketball team, found out that she has a torn ACL and she is going to have to now undergo surgery to repair it, followed by six to nine months of rehabilitation to bring her knee back to working condition. Basketball is a HUGE part of Ashley’s life and she has worked her guts out to be a good player. She practices every day and works out religiously to hone her skills. She loves the sport more than anything and she loves her teammates even more. When we got the news tonight from the doctor that her ACL was, in fact, torn, we were so sad. Ashley is just devastated. She is not a crier in life, but tonight there were a lot of tears shed at our house as the realization and seriousness of her situation set in. It caused all of us in our family to think about what was being lost and how the future would be different now.
The surgery will put her out of commission totally for about ten days and then she will be on crutches for a very long period of time after that, with rehab for another six months or more to help strengthen her knee enough to function normally. First and foremost it means that she is not going to be able to play the game of basketball that she loves with her whole soul for a long, long time. Next it means she will have to deal with making up school work from her time out to have surgery as well as time out after surgery while she is totally laid up in bed. It also means having to navigate the halls at school on crutches while attempting to carry her books to classes. Next it means trying to keep up her grades in order to get into college while dealing with surgery, recovery, therapy while also trying to get past her disappointment of not being able to play ball with her team. There is no question that Ashley is going to have a very long road ahead of her this upcoming year, both emotionally and physically and my heart just aches for her. It tore me up to watch her crumble tonight. As a parent I wish I could take the hurt away and go through it for her, but unfortunately life doesn’t work like that. She will have to go through this experience on her own with us there to love and support her in any way we can.
Tonight as Ashley and I snuggled on our couch, she and I talked about the fact that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us and sometimes when our lives turn upside down with a situation like the one Ashley is facing, there is more to it than we can even begin to realize. I firmly believe that this hardship Ashley is facing is going to turn out to be something more positive and wonderful than either of us is capable of imaging right now. I truly believe that when one door closes in our lives it is because God is trying to lead us down a different hallway – a much better hallway – a hallway that perhaps we would never have ventured down if we were not forced to by our life circumstances. Ashley’s injury is going to force her down a different hallway in her life, and although none of us know why this is necessary or where the new hallway will lead, she and I both trust that God has His reasons, and that if we trust in Him and try to move forward with as positive an attitude as possible, with a hope for the best for the future, that the time will come when we look back at this situation and she will say “Now I understand! And how grateful I am that God took me down this incredible new hallway, because had He not done that, I would never have known the beauty it would lead me to in my life.”
I do trust that God has a plan for us and I am proud of Ashley for the faith she has in that as well. Ashley is an amazing young woman. She is the strongest, most courageous person that I know. She is my hero and I admire her more than she will ever understand. I know she will get through this struggle in her life. I know that not only will she get through it, but she will inspire other girls to get through their tough times as well. Ashley will take the empathy she gains through this experience and turn it to be a huge asset in helping other people. I know that she will do that because she has done that her entire life. She takes every hard time and uses it to make her a better person and then she turns that strength outward to lift the lives of everyone around her. We could all stand to be a heck of a lot more like Ashley in life – When I grow up I want to be just like her J.
I know that if we are willing to do our part and then put our trust in our Heavenly Father, He will help lead us exactly to the place that will bring us the most happiness and joy in life. Of that I am certain. So when one door closes, don’t fall apart and don’t let yourself focus on what has been lost; rather focus your thoughts on the new hallway ahead, and be confident that the direction it leads is more beautiful and amazing than you could ever imagine….because it will be….