I have been working on Christmas cards the last few days. (They're all in the mail! Yippeee!) As usual, we are sending out a family photo (actually, this year it's just the kids) along with a year-end family newsletter (you know, the kind that it's lately become fashionable to ridicule).
I approached the letter a little differently this year. Instead of organizing it by person or chronology, I decided to approach it thematically. And without a doubt, our family theme the last few years has been change. So the letter introduces that theme, talks about how humans in general don't like change, outlines some of the major changes in our family's life, and points the reader to the One who doesn't change. "If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny himself." (2 Timothy 2:13)
I'm not going to rehash all of that. If you're a very close friend you probably know some of it. If you're not, count yourself blessed to be out of the loop. But I thought I would share a couple of more trivial areas of my life in which I have this year come face to face with the unavoidability of change and the consequences of trying to ignore it.
First, my feet. For the past year or two I have been experiencing foot pain that started out slowly but has gotten worse and worse. So how did I respond? As any self-respecting middle-aged woman with too much to do would, of course. I ignored it. I kept on wearing the same shoes and behaving in the same ways as I have for my entire life. After all, my feet never hurt before. Why should I have to change the way I live and walk and care for them now?
I learned that the answer to that question is that if I don't change I am going to be crippled some day. So finally, unable to ignore the pain any longer (it's not normal to be nearly unable to walk for the first 5-10 minutes when you wake up in the morning), I went to the foot doctor and discovered two things. First, I have something called a Morton's toe, which has led to a complication called Morton's neuroma. Some Morton's neuromas require surgery; mine is not too far progressed and should respond to PROPER CARE.
The second cause of my foot problems is something I already knew but didn't connect to my feet. I am getting old. I have flexible feet that flatten out when I stand or walk on them. Over my 46 years of life, I have done a lot of standing and walking, and the combination of that and aging means that the natural cushioning in my feet is playing out. It's like a mattress that has lost its spring or a pillow that has flattened out over time. So, as the doctor described it, when I walk on bare feet it's like walking on bone (and it feels like it). There's no cushion there anymore. He made an analogy to trying to support my body weight on knees and elbows. It would start to hurt pretty fast. That's about where my feet are.
What does this mean? Three things, essentially: better shoes, orthotics, and no more barefoot walking. I am going to be working on the first item on the list over time, trying to replace some of my shoes with better ones. (Might be a good idea to start by replacing those Skecher sandals that I have worn every day all summer for the last 5 years or so.) I have already been measured for orthotics and last week received a call from the doctor that they are in (just haven't had time to pick them up yet). And I have become religious about not going barefoot, ever. Not even to walk from my bed to the bathroom in the morning when I wake up. My slippers are ever-present. I even took them to a friend's house this week so that I would have something to walk around in after removing my snow boots. It's interesting how after only a few weeks of this new habit it feels normal. Now if I go barefoot I feel literally naked. And it's helping. My feet are feeling better. (Except when I spend all day walking around in unsupported, orthotic-less snow boots while running errands and Christmas shopping. Ouch.)
This post has actually gotten longer than I anticipated, so you will have to wait to hear about the other change I mentioned earlier. Here's a hint, though: it also has to do with aging. Imagine that.