The hurts can heal.

That was the parting message from my doctor before I walked out of the hospital door yesterday. My body was bruised. My muscles were torn. I was jarred and aching all over. But as I hobbled away like a patient with a bad left hip and a bandaged right foot, I knew that there was a prescription to heal my wounds: Ibuprofen, time, and an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen (a twist cone with crunch to be exact).

My day started strong with an early wakeup call and a calorie burning trip to the gym. I was about 40 minutes into my workout, listening to Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” and sweating through a steep incline at a fast pace on the treadmill when my face towel fell to the ground. “Darn it,” I thought to myself. “I needed that towel to wipe my face and now it’s on the disease-infested floor.” For a hand-sanitizer-carrying-germaphobe like myself, seeing my clean face towel on a dirty gym floor was slight torture. (I actually carry Clorox wipes in my gym bag to wipe down the equipment. Call me crazy, but you never know what’s living on those on/off buttons!) At this point in my workout, I only had one more song on my playlist to power through while my heart rate was just where I wanted it to be. But now, all that I could think about was that damn towel… on the floor… acting as a sponge for plagues and parasites. I decided to disrupt my final moments of intense cardio to reach for that towel. And so, without hitting “pause” on my treadmill, I attempted to step off the fast-moving belt in an effort to save my towel from full contamination. What happened next wasn’t pretty. It was an epic fall! I think it was a two-parter? I tripped during the first part of my fall, but almost caught myself. And then somehow after I tripped, I ended up back on the moving belt of the treadmill which caused a full-body, one-hundred-and-forty-some-pound-thud! And while it happened quickly, I felt like I was moving in slow-motion down a conveyer belt – twisted and beaten. It was painful. It was embarrassing. And now… I was on the ground… with my towel… and the germs.

My ego was telling me to get up! But my body felt broken and I couldn’t move. There were people who rushed over to help me while I sat on the floor, trying to decide which part of my body hurt the most. I wanted to laugh it off, but my body hurt more than my bruised psyche. Eventually, I picked myself up off the ground and hobbled to my car. And that’s when I called Dr. Mike. He’s a friend and the best podiatrist in town. I didn’t want to overreact, but I knew I suffered more than a small contusion. After I tripped on the treadmill, I made a trip to see Dr. Mike that same afternoon. The verdict: a muscle tear in my right foot which would cause about 4 – 6 weeks of soreness. It was good news considering the abuse my body took somewhere between Steven Tyler singing, “lived and learned from fools and from sages” to my fall from grace during my climb. Dr. Mike wrapped up my foot, explained what happened inside of my body, and mapped out my treatment moving forward. And as I limped to the door, Dr. Mike told me not to be afraid to put some weight on the sensitive side of my body. He said, “you will hurt, but you won’t do any harm.”

Those words stuck with me throughout the day – you will hurt, but you won’t do any harm. After my accident, I was afraid to shift weight back to my “bad side,” causing my “good side” to be thrown out of whack. It seemed like a metaphor for other painful experiences we have in life. We trust, only to be betrayed, and then have difficulty trusting again. We love, only to have our hearts broken, leaving us afraid to love again. We expose our vulnerabilities, and then we are criticized, making us feel shame. We mess up and then have fear of success when trying to move forward. We hurt, and sometimes decide that we are broken, but we can heal. We fall off the treadmill of life and are hesitant to get back on it. Just because something bad happens doesn’t mean that it has to eradicate all the good. We may fall, but it’s much braver to get back up rather than lay on the germ-infested ground.

The hurts can heal. But ONLY YOU have control over taking the steps toward recovery. Maybe you should give it a try? Like Dr. Mike said, it won’t do any harm.