Injuries and longevity

I fractured my ankle last week skiing. I hit a submerged rock and chipped a small piece of bone off the bottom of my tibia. I’m seeing an orthopedist on Thursday who will fill me in on my healing process and timeline. (Update: it is just a sprain. Turns out the fracture was an old injury)

At the accident site, after extracting my face from the fluffy white snow that had so effectively hidden the rock, my first thoughts went to this practice group I am trying to get started in April. Am I going to be hobbling around at our first meeting? At this time, I just do not know.

I’m 54 years old and have been doing martial arts since 17. That’s a lot of years and I am grateful to still be able to move well, and to keep up with practitioners younger than me. I have experienced a few significant injuries during my athletic career and each time it’s been frustrating. The pain, the awkwardness, the detachment from spirit-lifting and focusing exercise activities. The revisiting of the accident and the circumstances that led to it. Injuries suck. Yet they give you a chance to pause.

I do this for fun. I want to keep doing it for at least another two decades. When I’m 75, I want to be known as that old guy who can still move well, knows a few things and is fun to be around. I want to help my training partners practice smart and healthy, whether they are 18 or 38 or 78.

Like all of them, this injury sucks, but it is an opportunity for me to pause a bit, and focus on some of the administrative aspects of the club like building up this blog.

I have had some amazing spiritual experiences while recovering from injuries. Most of them did not feel pleasant at the time, but they were life-pivots, each one, and they taught me important things.


The clubs I’ve run in the past all went year-round. Fifty-two weeks a year, with breaks only for major holidays that fell on practice nights. I am doing this club a bit differently. We are doing three terms, each about three months in duration. That will leave two months of hiatus during the summer (July-August), and December, which is just a big month for me and many others around Advent.

I have come to believe it is good to take breaks, just like folks do in team sports. And I want to give myself (and my membership) space to enjoy the amazing Bend outdoors during the summer Breaks let the body rest and the mind consolidate learnings. We will still meet during our off-times, but it will be more informal.

Red lights

I’ll close with this… this is Katie Albritton, one of the amazing musicians at my church, Antioch, doing her take on Johnny Lang’s Red Light. Timed well… she played it during communion the week I hurt my ankle.

If you find yourself at a red light, look at it as an opportunity, not a frustration or failure. Give yourself a break. Good advice for me. I am quite impatient with myself.