Can we talk about healing?

There are few things that create common ground as much as the power of and desire to heal. No matter your background nor ethnicity, age or occupation, we all want to feel well.

A month ago, I had arthroscopic knee surgery. Yeah, fun times! (Hopefully, you can read the total sarcasm in that sentence.) I had been suffering with an injured knee for about a year, and my last resort, after physical therapy, an MRI and a couple of X-rays, was the surgery. During the procedure, it was discovered that I was not just whining about my bum knee, there was actual damage.

I left the surgical center with a brand new pair of crutches. I am currently on week four of what, fingers crossed, should only be five weeks of needing walking aids. I would be lying if I said that they aren’t challenging most times. A simple shower, trip to the restroom, or even cooking seems tiresome. All that aside, I have remained relatively active.

A Desire for Healing Brings Us Together

Living in a place as fun as Chicago during the summertime, provides plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the city. I have attended the Chicago Ribfest (it’s great to have friends who’ll push you around in a wheelchair), an outdoor jazz concert, a symphony performance, tons of dates, a few movies, and so much more- usually smiling along the way.

What I have found to be the most heartwarming sentiment when people see me hopping around, is empathy and well wishes for me to have a speedy and full recovery. A neighbor whose name I could not tell you, who I rode the elevator down with me one morning, both of us headed to work, prayed her wishes of healing out loud for me throughout our slow ride to the lobby. The man who issued tickets at a street fest called out for me to “take care of yourself” as I rolled through the exit. The gentleman who takes care of housekeeping at the building where I work, the heating and cooling guy, the nail tech at the spa… all express the unanimous feeling to get well soon- to be healed.

Common Ground Through Empathy

The crutches have acted as a great conversation opener, a way for people to engage with someone, with whom they would probably not normally speak. Call me an optimist, but I’m willing to bet it also helps to put things into perspective for others. The sight of me, carefully hopping from barstools to restaurant booths, stadium seating to a never-ending sea of parking spaces, or being pushed up steep hills by college-aged park attendants creates a sense of gratefulness when they can walk with ease.

For my part, when I find myself complaining, I remember that this is only temporary; there are people who experience this as a consistent part of life, not simply an inconvenience.

The thing about healing is anyone can empathize with not feeling their best. As people inquire about my remaining time using crutches, offer me seating, and rush to open doors, I am reminded that one of the things that binds us all is how good (physically) we like to feel — and that feels good.

Common Grounder

In order to find common ground, there must be communication. Maya James shares an unexpected conversation starter, and how healing unites us all.