The 40-day Countdown

The 40-day Countdown

Call me Forrest and watch me run — my crutches are gone!

OK, so it wasn’t exactly a scene out of Forrest Gump. I didn’t sprint away when I broke free of my leg-length brace and crutches after six long weeks of confinement following knee surgery. But when my doctor gave me the go-ahead to walk earlier this week, I’m pretty sure I experienced the same freedom Gump felt as he heeded the call to run. This was a long time coming.

I’d like to say I took these past weeks in stride, but I’d be lying. I was miserable. Those 40-odd days seemed like a lifetime to get through. And I wasn’t even in a desert.

Another 40-day trial is soon on its way: Lent is fast-approaching. And as we all begin to ponder what to give up or what extra to take on, I have a recommendation: Go big. Leave giving up the chocolate and candy for the next diet and focus on really challenging yourself this Lent. Take away something you’ve come to rely on or add a substantial deed to your everyday life. See what it’s like to live a little differently than your normal routine. Will it feel uncomfortable? Yes. Will you want to complain and get frustrated? Probably. Will it be worth it in the end? Absolutely.

If I’ve learned anything from my recent experience, it’s that in the uncomfortable, frustrating moments, we tend to grow the most, both personally and spiritually.

Perhaps I needed a little (or apparently a lot of) practice before Lent to better realize the purpose behind our sacrificing. When I was finally able to see my situation not as a hindrance but as a teachable moment from God, I quickly found the good in the bad. With more than ample time for reflection, I grew closer to God and learned to rely on him to listen, lead and lend a hand. I became more grateful for my family, friends and even strangers around who were willing to lend their helping hands, too, and I realized how lucky I am that my situation is only temporary and that my road to recovery has an end in sight. I guess “no pain, no gain” doesn’t just apply to sports.

If that’s what 40 days of sacrifice gets me, I’m more than happy to do it all over again in a few weeks. Now I just have to figure out what will top giving up walking…

Featured image: graur razvan ionut


About the Author

Rachel Zawila is an assistant editor of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. With previous journalism experience in the spa and wine industries, she is skilled in the art of relaxation. An avid traveler, she enjoys meeting new people around the globe, hoping one day to find someone who can pronounce her last name correctly on the first try.