In The Waning Days of 2020

Mark HersheyBlog

“Only a few more days!! It was just a few more days until the end of the year 2020!”

Those were my thoughts as I was being driven to urgent care this week.

I had been playing pickleball and was in the middle of an especially intense and evenly-balanced match in which both teams had already won several games. It was our last game. I was trying to preserve our lead. I had just hit a shot from behind the baseline and gathered myself for a charge toward the net. Instead of finding the usual burst of speed, I crumpled to the ground as it felt like someone had whacked the back of my lower left leg with a 2×4. I was so confused. Laying on my back I looked around to see if anyone had hit me or if I ran into anything. Why was I on the ground?

My next thought was that I had done something to my Achilles. Though it never happened to me, a few years ago I was playing soccer with a Hopester when he had ruptured his. On the way to urgent care, with a mixture of pain and numbness, I was already googling “Achilles tear recovery” as I was thinking about the next several months and how things would certainly be different. I thought about the house projects that I might not be able to get to, time missed playing sports with my girls, and many other things. Though my mind was already going down that path, I whispered prayers that it was something else.

At the urgent care, I recalled the accident to the nurse, explaining how it all went down on the pickleball court. When the doctor came in to the room, he deadpanned, “So I understand you’re in a bit of a pickle.” After an examination, he determined that my Achilles was indeed intact, but it was my Soleus muscle, located just above my Achilles, that had given way to the added stress I had applied to it during the pickleball match. Thankfully, the recovery for that muscle tear is more like a few days to a few weeks, rather than the 4-6 months for an Achilles tear.

Though it was a small thing, my little accident was a gift in a way, because it helped me see that my health, my plans, and abilities are gifts that should not be taken for granted. As I prepare to enter 2021 a bit hobbled, though I don’t want to look back at 2020, it does serve as a reminder for me to hold things loosely, to live in love, and to be mindful of the gifts from the hands of our Heavenly Father. As we all prepare for the New Year, let us be thankful for our time, our health, our relationships and any other blessings God has given to us. May we use them for God’s Kingdom in 2021 and beyond!

Also, it looks like I don’t have any excuses to get out of those upcoming house projects and I should probably go a little easier next time on a pickleball court!


Pastor Mark