“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Acceptance is probably the hardest part of this whole journey for me.
8 weeks post-op and my mind is still reeling about everything. I really haven’t told a lot of people just how hard it has been for me to accept the realities of Cerebral Palsy.
I remember being a kid and in my mind, I never thought CP was a permanent thing. I was probably the happiest kid ever running around in my little metal walker.
But I know now that a very small fraction of that happiness came from the fact that I innocently and truly thought that I wouldn’t be like this forever.
When did it hit me that this is how I will be for my entire life?
If I’m completely honest, I probably didn’t start accepting it until high school.
Because as a kid, I always thought I’d be “normal” by then. I’d go to high school, walk unassisted, play soccer and do all the normal high school things.
The first day of 9th grade is forever etched into my brain because that is the first day it started to set in.
First period, I got up to get paper. And like I always did, I just held onto the desks for support. Looking ahead of me and not down, I totally didn’t see someone’s backpack to my right.
And just like that, I tripped and face planted. On the first day of high school. In my very first class.
I had fallen plenty of times in class before at The Christ School – the small private school I grew up in where nobody ever thought twice about my walker – but this fall in high school was different.
Because for the very first time in my life, instead of my close TCS friends rushing to my side and helping me up, the class erupted in laughs. And at that moment, I think it hit me.
This is my life. I’m stuck like this. And people aren’t always going to be cool about it.
I tried to push it off and still let the little kid Jordan believe that things would change.
But when I was sitting out my fourth homecoming in a row, I was silently struggling with and realizing my situation. Every year around Homecoming, I’d tell people at school that I’d be out of town and then beg my parents to drive to Gainesville to go to the Gator game instead. I told my parents it was just because I thought all that Homecoming stuff was stupid.
Really, yes, I did think the hype of school dances was a little much. But the other part of me wished more than anything that I could have the typical high school experience. But I lacked the close group of friends to go with, and my crutches and I thought we’d save a lot of trouble by hiding from every high school dance.
I was lucky enough that there was a Gator game almost every Homecoming weekend. I played it off cool like I couldn’t care less that I was hopping in my parents’ car for another Homecoming and heading to Gainesville.
Which in a way, was true. If you know me, you know I (obviously) love the Gators and Gainesville and I loved those trips with my parents. But I know now that part of me felt really left out those four years. I just ignored that feeling.
So slowly, I came to terms with it in high school and I started to think I was going to finally be fine with CP forever.
But then college happened. I struggled again with the way people stared, I was frustrated with how much I have to plan ahead to find the most accessible routes on campus and again, found myself wishing with everything I had, that little kid Jordan was right. That CP wasn't a permanent thing.
I again did my best to ignore everything I felt. But like always, that didn’t work for long.
Surgery number 10 happened, and I moved into the hospital for a month. Let me tell you, living in a hospital really puts things into perspective.
I would sit in that hospital and feel insanely blessed because of the resources God has put in my life and thankful for how I am able to truly have the best life possible with CP.
But then the negative side of my brain would fire up and I again wrestled with acceptance.
That side of my brain was what made me break down crying in the hospital cafeteria.
I finally told my mom how much I struggled in high school (even though I think she already knew because she can basically read my mind.) And I told her that some days, I truly hate my legs. I told her how I get super anxious in most social situations because I pretty much always feel like the odd one out. I told her how I struggle with feeling like a burden to people, even though in the back of my mind, I know that I’m not.
She cried with me. And then told me two things:
That she’d do anything to take this away from me. But I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I’ve heard that a million times before, and it’s sometimes hard to believe.
How can I be “wonderfully made” when my bones are so flawed, I know that I’m going to be in pain the rest of my life and my biggest dream, to run, will never come true?
That verse has been rolling around in my head this whole recovery process.
Because I think after I sat in that hospital cafeteria and shamelessly sobbed, I was finally able to start to process how difficult but beautiful the journey the Lord has put me on actually is.
Yes, it sucks that I won’t ever be able to run and play sports. But I have learned to truly enjoy times on the sidelines and I’ve mastered the art of being moral support.
Yes, it’s hard riding my scoot around UF and feeling the stares. It’s not fun stepping into social situations even with people I consider friends, and instantly becoming quiet because I feel weird being a kid on crutches. But I’m learning to embrace it and realize that I probably notice my disability more than most people do. To most people I encounter, it’s no big deal. I just have to teach myself that.
Yes, it’s scary thinking about the future. Knowing that life with CP isn’t easy.
But Tebow said it best: “I don't know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.”
Learning to take extreme comfort in the fact that Jesus holds my future.
And learning to work hard against CP, throwing my absolute all into this recovery to become my best physically.
From now on, I will be Sore from kicking CP’s butt and not Sorry about what it puts me through.
Because everyone’s path, including mine, is fearfully and wonderfully made.