Breaking Open

A new potential toy for Simon

What do you do when you live through the same nightmare twice?

Many of you know that this happened last fall.

On Easter evening two days ago, I was carrying a heavy laundry basket and turned a corner on a rug. My weak ankle gave out, and I heard a “pop” from my foot.

Yesterday’s appointment (with the same doctor I initially saw for my ankle) confirmed my worst fear. I broke my foot. She said my bone density looked fine on the X-ray, but the tendons and ligaments surrounding my foot bones were still weak from my ankle injury. They couldn’t fully support my foot bones with the weight of the ankle giving out.

I had to pull out my boot from a shelf in the garage. The friend who lent me her crutches brought them back over (still adjusted to my size).

I just sobbed.

After five months of recovery from my ankle, I’d just finished physical therapy. I’d returned to my running regimen. We got a double stroller for the kids and me to enjoy the coming spring. I’d just said to my husband last weekend, “I am so happy.”

I told family yesterday I didn’t know what was more broken….my heart or my foot. It is truly devastating. And I thought about my prayer from last Friday and how that is exactly what I am leaning into today.

I’m paged this morning through my journal for recent quotes I’d copied. About a week ago, I’d read this from Elizabeth Lesser in Oprah’s new book, The Wisdom of Sundays….

You can either break down and stay broken down and eventually shut down, or you can break open…I’m not going to waste this precious experience, this opportunity to become the best me.

To be honest friends, all I wanted to do yesterday was break down. And through the night, I lay awake, picturing what lay ahead of me. The dependence. The helplessness. The pain.

Jeff turned on “pray-as-you-go” this morning where the music was a rendition of Psalm 118 –

“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” 

I remembered how my dad, who endured a cycle of continual relapse and remission with his cancer, said this in the morning for 11 years.

I thought about the immediate influx of of support I received from community yesterday – God’s presence made tangible in my midst.

And though I write with tears in my eyes, I am loosening my grip on my soul’s shards and letting them fall into the open hands of this beautiful community. This beautiful God.  How good you are. How good God is.

I once heard of an ancient rabbinic tradition where Jewish rabbis would pray the “Aleph-Bet” (or the Hebrew alphabet). The belief was that the Spirit would form from the recited alphabet the words needed when we feel unable to pray ourselves. A, B, C, D, E……

So many of you have faced and are facing terrible things and gone on to blossom. Your lives are witness to me.

So here’s to breaking open today.

And saying yes to all things.

And letting the Spirit form the prayers I need today.



  1. Arianne
    You, who has provided so much strength to “us”, now get ready to except all our prayers of strength and hope to you. Yes it is going to be difficult, very challenging and lonely at times, Spring out there calling you to join in the activities, be the strong one. Oh an idea! Why not get an adult “stroller” and be taken out for the normal outing? Jeff and the “kids” can do the people-power push! Add a little humor, laughter, fun and believe me, it is the very very best medicine.
    I am sorry for all of this, but this too shall pass with rather interesting memories and recalls.
    Love you for all you do, up or down!!
    Blessings always
    Marianne Platt

  2. Praying for His Spirit to strengthen and fill you anew with His Joy as it seems you are seeking. God bless you for the ways you see His hand and find His face in those around you.

  3. Ash, Wow, so sorry to hear of your ankle problems, and thanks for sharing. I like your comments on praying the alphabet and realized that the last couple of months that on the 24th day of the month when I read Psalm 116, 117, 118, 119, and 120 it dawned on me to pray Psalm 119 which has 8 verses with each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. That is where my discipline of 1 Proverb and 5 Psalms takes me which I learned from Billy Graham many years ago and I have actually followed the last couple of years. Now, remember to read Psalm 139:13-14 regularly and follow God’s knitting plan for your body—He must have a plan since it says that He knit us together in our mother’s womb. We’ll pray for your healing and for giving you ideas for coping and staying steadfast in your healing. Blessings, Gene DeHoogh

    On Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 9:41 AM, Ash and Starlight wrote:

    > ariannelehn posted: ” What do you do when you live through the same > nightmare twice? Many of you know that this happened last fall. On Easter > evening two days ago, I was carrying a heavy laundry basket and turned a > corner on a rug. My weak ankle gave out, and I heard a “po” >

  4. I am so very sorry you must endure this. But I’m sure your inner strength, your strong faith, the support of your family & friends will carry you through. My love & prayers will be with you.

  5. Dear Adrianne, God be with you as you venture through this next challenge. You are a strong woman and will grow emotionally from the things of this world that try to keep us down. Take your boot and crutches with you and dance! A simple dance movement can be lovely. Love to you. Kris.

    On Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 9:41 AM Ash and Starlight wrote:

    > ariannelehn posted: ” What do you do when you live through the same > nightmare twice? Many of you know that this happened last fall. On Easter > evening two days ago, I was carrying a heavy laundry basket and turned a > corner on a rug. My weak ankle gave out, and I heard a “po” >

  6. Dear Arianne,
    I am so very sorry that you are going through this again after you have just recovered! Strange things do happen. Amy returned to figure skating just about three years ago after twenty years. After just a couple of months she caught one toe pick on the other and fell backwards on her arm it was broken in about four or five places plus her wrist. Long story short she had emergency surgery and began the very long recovery. Perhaps 18 months later she began to have pain in her arm again. For months she didn’t tell anyone. She finally saw the surgeons and found that one of the breaks hadn’t healed and the pins and plates were loosening. She had surgery again in early October. Amazingly it healed in four months rather than 12. Her PT was skating and getting her strength back. She was able to really skate again in January. So miracles do happen! I pray that you will recover just as well and can be out in the sun very soon.

    Ironically as we left the sanctuary after the second service I wished Jeff a relaxing rest on the day:)

    Many hugs, Melissa Rooks

    1. Thank you, Melissa! You and your sweet daughter have endured so much!! Thank you for your support and for sharing this story. Hugs to you both.

  7. Sad to hear this news Arianne. Bless you my friend. Prayers for speedy recovery.

  8. Dear Arianne,
    It was heartbreaking to hear about your Easter nightmare, especially as it came just as you were finally enjoying your renewed mobility! The happy smile of your Simon shows that this is truly one of the greatest periods of your life, nevertheless. I know you will use this opportunity to become the best you. Such good advice when we are devastated! When we are weakened physically, we are strengthened spiritually. Busy moms need a quiet time for reflection, for contemplating the great miracles those gorgeous babies provide on a daily basis. Those glorious smiles show your special brand of “breaking open!” I love knowing you, Arianne!

    1. Gerri, you are such an encouragement – time and time again! I love knowing you too! Thank you so much – from the bottom of my heart!

  9. Hi Arianne,
    So sorry to hear about your ankle! I just received this email from The Positivity Blog that I read It spoke to me today too since I am currently in Strasbourg, France with my 10 students on our trip and things aren’t quite going how I’d planned. Already we missed our bus in Frankfurt to get here, one student lost her passport, and yesterday morning I slipped down the stairs in the house and sprained my ankle. I’m staying home today missing a great tour of a nearby city because I know it’s best for my ankle. In the end you need to do what’s best to heal yourself and ask for help any time you need it. Maybe God is leading you on a different path for the time being. I’ll be praying for you. Lori Foltz

    1. Oh Lori, I can’t tell you how sorry I am to hear this!! You were literally on my mind and heart just two days ago, probably around the time this happened! Thank you so much for your prayers. You are definitely mine! You are strong, Lori. Sending love across the sea!

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