I have only ever broken two bones in my body: my right pinky toe and my left pinky toe.
I broke my right pinky toe in February, 2000, two days before I was scheduled to fly to Ukraine to adopt two children. I was walking out of the bathroom and caught my toe on the door frame. The snapping sound and instant pain, coupled with the odd angle of my toe, were pretty good clues it was broken.
We were living in Korea at the time, and one of the surgeons on base happened to be a friend. I called him on his cell phone. “Is there any point in going into the ER?” He said there wasn’t. “Just buddy tape it to the toe next to it. That’s all we would do.” I looked at my toe. “That’s going to be difficult, since it’s sticking out the side of my foot at a 90 degree angle.”
There was a pause before he said, “In that case, you need to come in. That’s the only time we would do surgery for a broken toe. We’ll need to put in a pin. You won’t be walking for a few weeks.”
I was stunned. “But, you know I can’t do that! I’m flying to Ukraine in two days!” I could almost hear him shrug. “Not any more, you’re not. Surgery and a pin are the only way to fix that kind of break.”
In my church we believe in healing through the priesthood. I called some men from church and they came to give me a blessing. With their hands on my head, they asked the Lord to bless me with a healed toe, so that I could travel and complete the adoptions. At the end of the prayer I opened my eyes and looked at my toe. It was straight. Still painful. But completely straight. I buddy taped it, finished getting ready for my trip, and went to Ukraine where I adopted 2 two year olds. (An adventure for another story.) My toe healed nicely.
I broke my left pinky toe in 2009. This time I caught it on my daughter’s foot, and the same cracking sound and searing pain let me know I was in trouble. I pulled off my sock to put a bag of frozen broccoli on my foot, and thought, “Not again!” It was sticking out at a 90 degree angle.
The orthopedic surgeon said, “Did you know, this is the only kind of broken toe we do surgery for!” After drilling and pinning and 6 weeks on crutches, the pin was removed and I compared my pinky toes.
My left toe was pretty straight. The surgeon had done a good job. However, even now, almost 5 years later, it still aches sometimes, and thanks to the pin, the bones are fused together, so sometimes it doesn’t fit as nicely in dress shoes as I would like. Still- it’s a lot better than it was!
My right toe is completely and perfectly healed. No aching. It bends (as well as a pinky toe can). And it fits perfectly in shoes.
I was thinking about my toes tonight- probably because I wore dress boots in the snow today, so my left toe is aching. What a great illustration, right at my feet (literally), of the difference between trusting God to fix our problems, and trusting man. Don’t get me wrong. The surgeon was wonderful. And I am very, very grateful for what he was able to do. But when things are broken, there is one source of true healing.
I went back to school this last fall. (Thus the lack of posts here over the last few months.) And it’s hard. Memorizing takes a lot more time than it used to. My classmates are the ages of my kids. Some of my professors are younger than I am. And at the same time, I’m trying to heal from a lot of emotional damage. Feelings are a lot harder to mend than broken toes. I’ve been struggling with questions like Why? and Is this really my life? and Can I ever recover?
Then I look down, and my toes are right there, reminding me that through faith, all things are possible.