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Fractured Faith

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Over the course of a lifetime, people must face many difficulties and setbacks. Many of these problems look like complete drawbacks with no real potential to lead to something worthwhile. However, in my case I found that bad things can sometimes lead to good outcomes, even when you least expect it. April of last year, this became apparent to me when I found out that I had fractured my back. Sitting on the frigid, shiny metal table in the clammy doctor's office I impatiently waited, subconsciously gnawing at my fingernails. To me, this practically rendered a matter of life and death, for an injury in the middle of club volleyball season did not seem like something I could handle. After what felt like hours, the doctor quietly shuffled into the room, not looking up from a folder of papers, and sat down. I felt like a balloon ready to burst at any moment as he sat there in a sangfroid fashion, slowly looking up at me. He told me that he had some bad news, and my heart sunk down deep inside my chest. The walls began to spin, my body grew weary, and a prickling chill shot across my skin. This couldn't happen to me, I never got injured to this extent; never had I broken or fractured anything, I thought that I had immunity. My doctor elaborated on my newfound restrictions, but mentally, I distantly wandered.

After receiving the news about my fractured back, I immediately went to a dark place. Stuff like this never happened to me, so this whole experience seemed like terra incognita. I had always done what I wanted, when I wanted, and usually excelled without putting forth an excessive amount of effort. That lifestyle I enjoyed and coveted very much. Tears streamed down my face like endless raindrops for quite some time thereafter the dreadful news. Taking away volleyball and horseback riding literally seemed equivalent to ripping apart large, bloody chunks of my soul. These two very important aspects of my life really defined me as a person, so without them I felt lost and without a purpose. For a long time I tried to deny the fact that I felt the sharp, stabbing pain and even tried masking it with an excessive amount of Advil. Although the pain subdued, I still felt its omnipresence and it made me nervous nonetheless. One accidental misstep could potentially have seriously hurt me further and permanently have affected my growth and recovery. Denial slowly began to wear off as I kept trying to endure the suffering and pain for a greater good, in this case for my volleyball team, whom I felt obligated to, both as a player and as a captain. Leaving at the end of the season seemed to me to be the equivalent of abandoning them, even if it remained out of my control. Honestly, I can say that fracturing my back the equivalent of the biggest obstacle that I had ever faced in my life.

Time progressed and I learned that dealing with this problem seemed like the only option, something I must learn how to do. Thinking positively, I tried to look on the bright side of the situation and remain optimistic, even when it seemed that hope ceased to exist anymore. As time progressed, I learned to grow from my experience, however, and I gained a lot of patience and began really listening to my body and what it told me. Small changes in the way I viewed the situation slowly but surely progressed. I still attended practice as if an average player, not participating of course, but I could at least watch people play the game that I became so deeply infatuated with and learn visually. People talked to me about my injury and I gained new knowledge of the commonality of setbacks such as mine and that no matter how bad it felt at first, others had felt the pain too. Surprisingly enough, I began to actually appreciate the fact that I had injured myself. If none of this had happened, I wouldn't have exposed myself to many unique experiences that only come from having to deal with such an ordeal.

Months after the initial fracture, I finally came to peace with the horrible situation and recognized it as a blessing in disguise. No longer viewing the injury as an unfortunate setback, I learned to look at the positives of the situation, which grew seemingly increasingly as time went on. During high school volleyball season, I made many new friends in the training room where all of the injured players of various sports went to get medical attention. People in a variety of grades, who I had never seen or talked to before now became close with me and knew me on a more personal level. The trainer, Laura, and I also became close and developed a relationship that we could only make after numerous long and life altering talks. Many people who had regularly attended the volleyball games asked me why I couldn't play anymore and reassured me that the team could really use me, so I should get better soon. Reassured of my status as a player, I felt a real confidence boost. It had at first seemed like my volleyball career looked cut short before it even really began, but now I could see that people really thought of me as an asset and a key component to the team. Also, my inability to play opened up a starting spot on the team, which allowed some people who normally did not get a significant amount of playing time, to play. An eye opening experience could describe watching two of the freshman and another sophomore step up to the plate and blossom into the varsity athletes that they always dreamed of becoming. Coming to terms with my drawback, I learned that bad situations oftentimes bring out a lot of unforeseen good.

It seemed as a horrible predicament in the beginning, but really turned out as a blessing. Fracturing the back does not happen to most people in their lifetimes, and it became a unique and life altering experience that forever changed the way I view things. I had never thought that good could come from such bad situations, but I grew to learn that oftentimes many advantages to having a large hurdle to overcome present themselves. Like a flower in the eve of spring, I blossomed from a narrow minded goal seeker to having a developed big picture view of the world. Given the chance, I do not think that I would go back and change anything that has happened to me, for it shaped the person that I am today. What does not kill us only makes us stronger, and fracturing my back truly became a blessing that made me stronger, both emotionally and mentally. This definitely seemed like a horrible situation that in the end, turned out to be positive with a unique view of the situation.





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