Moving: A Reflection in Three Ways
by Kayla Monaghan
Moving. The word has a lot of meanings. Here is what the Merriam Webster Dictionary has to offer: 1. changing place or position 2.having a strong emotional effect : causing feelings of sadness or sympathy 3.relating to the activity or process of moving to a different place to live or work. Now throughout life you truly discover the meaning of words through gritty, real experiences rather than what you find in a dictionary.
The last three months I have learned through pain, tears, and lots of boxes the full impact the word moving can have on a person. I am in an active family, all five of us busy. My parents were college-athletes and they have coached their sports over the years for various teams. My sister plays competitive soccer, traveling all over the northeast. In the winter, she played basketball on our school’s team and became the starting point guard. My brother plays travel soccer and wrestles in the winter. I was the same as my sister, along with both of us also making the New Jersey State teams in our respective age groups.
As you can imagine, we all could run powerfully, were good on a ball, and loved every second of moving, though we never realized it. Or at least I never did. I wish I had because of what happened on April 30, 2016. I stepped out on the soccer field to play, feeling the familiar adrenaline and anticipation for the game to begin. The whistle blew and we were off. The other team scored and I felt a surge of frustration. I was playing center forward, the main attacker, and though I was making the right runs, I was not getting the ball.
“You’re doing great Kayla. Keep your head up,” my dad called from the sidelines. My mom and little brother was with my sister at her game. I nodded to him and kept at it. About five minutes later we had a free kick. I felt my heart beat faster as I lined up to rush the goal. The ball came soaring over, and I touched it behind the center backs, leaving both of them watching me run to their goal. The keeper came out, but hesitated around the six yard box. I slipped it to the right (her left) with the outside of my foot and it rolled smoothly over the line. GOAL!
I jumped up in the air and then high fived all my teammates as we ran back to the center circle, ready to go again. My heart leaped for joy in the fact that I just tied the game. A few minutes of play and then the ball soared over their defenders again. I was in. I knew I was going to score again. I just knew it. I put the jets on and was going full speed at the goal.
The keeper was not going to be caught in limbo a second time. She came crashing towards me, sliding for the ball. Instead of going with her hands as goalies are supposed to, she came with her feet.
CRACK! I screamed, a small voice in the back of my mind asking why I was screaming. I thought the loud noise was my shin guards getting hit. I fell to the ground, my legs stretched out in front of me, knees bent, feet on the ground.
“Kayla! Stop Screaming!” one of my teammates yelled. Everything was out of focus, and I felt my shin wiggle. Now your whole life you are used to movement in your ankle and your knee, but never your shin. That was one type of movement I wish I never experienced. I screamed a couple more times and did my best to grip my legs on both sides to hold it straight. I had never had a broken bone, but I knew in my gut my leg was broken. My coach and my dad ran to me from opposite sidelines.
“My leg is broken. She broke my leg,” I said.
“We don’t know that,” my coach said gently.
“I know. I know it is broken,” I said. They just nodded, to appease me I supposed.
That day took away my ability to move for about a month. My leg was indeed shattered, the two bones in my shin snapped completely. Thankfully, though close, neither of the bones poked out of my skin, a compound fracture. I had surgery the day after it happened, putting a titanium rod inside my broken tibia. It goes the length of my knee to my ankle and there are three screws keeping it in place. If they don’t give me any problems, I should be bionic for the rest of my life. It’s now early August and the bones are 95% healed. I can walk mostly without a limp and I have begun light jogging, still a limp extremely prevalent. I will be back to full contact just in time for basketball season, but that will be a couple months yet. I have learned how precious being able to physically move is. Enjoy and treasure every blessing of movement you have been given.
I also have learned a lot about another meaning of the word move. The move where you pack up your whole house and go to a new one that you have never seen before in a place that is completely new to you. Six weeks after I broke my leg we were planning to move from New Jersey where we had lived for the last eight years, to Blacksburg, Virginia where my sister and I were born and my parents had worked twelve years ago. In New Jersey, we planted a church starting with twenty people in our living room that now, eight years later, built out and owned its own building. There was over 300 people attending on a Sunday. I grew up with the church and I couldn’t be more grateful for that opportunity. My dad was the head pastor and it was a very difficult to make the decision to move, but we wanted to be close to my grandparents. Also just to slow down our pace of life to be closer as a family.
It was the right time if we were going to take that leap of faith. I was going into my freshman year of high school, the soccer teams around the nation were scrambling because of a new age policy, and my mom’s parents (who are only two hours away) are starting to get older and slower. They have done so much for us, we wanted to be there for them when they need it. So on crutches I went from room to room helping to pack whatever boxes I could. The day before we were to start the drive down my mom threw her back out and my dad had to go do a retreat. We knew we could not get the packing done by ourselves. Thankfully, our incredible church came out and our house was full of people packing and doing anything we needed to be done.
That night I started throwing up. The week before my dad, sister, and brother all caught some 24 hour stomach bug, but I didn’t get it. I suppose my body decided that the night before we left I should heave up my guts for six hours and barely sleep. But regardless of my raging fever (the last leg of the bug), my mom, my siblings, and I packed into the car and went to Gettysburg, about halfway to Blacksburg. We made it the historical stop and learned all about the battle there. Then, the next day we went to our new hometown. The next week was insane as my dad joined us, the moving truck arrived, me starting new physical therapy, and many other stories that would keep us here for hours. But with all of it I learned what a move really was. I had moved when I was younger (two years old to Tennessee, then seven years old to New Jersey), but this was an all new experience for me. I could help unpack, and even with a broken leg, there was much I could do to help the family settle in. Around the same time I got off my crutches, able to move a bit better.
Finally, I learned the third definition of what it means to be moved. Leaving the place I had grown up, the school that I had been in since first grade, the soccer team I had been on for four years, and the church that is my family that raised me was in no way easy. Many nights, I lay in bed crying over what I would miss. It was even harder when I broke my leg. I had a whole plan at how I was going to say goodbye to each aspect of my life in New Jersey, and not one bit of it happened like I had imagined. My last game with my team was supposed to be triumphant. Heartbreak. My last time with the New Jersey state team was supposed to be a warm goodbye with friends. Never saw them. My last day of school was supposed to be a strong way of finishing with those dear to me. Crutches. My last day at church I was supposed to play tag with little ones and answer questions about Virginia. Questions about my leg. I couldn’t understand why all of this was happening, but God used it all.
My last game? I helped them win, and also got closer with all my teammates before I left through their kindness. They moved me with their compassion. My last day with ODP? My coach sent me a wonderful email wishing me the best, and my teammates checked in on me, making sure I was alright. They moved me with their empathy. My last day of school? I was on crutches, and eventually in a wheelchair, but I was able to be there. I was able to say a final goodbye to my friends, well honestly family, of the last eight years. They moved me with their love. My last day at church? I was able to be there with my parents, siblings, and the rest of our family in Christ. I was hugged, encouraged, and prayed over by some of the most incredible people I have ever known. They moved me with their faith.
Moving is a word that is not truly appreciated until you experience it first hand. It can change your life in a variety of ways. My prayer is that the lessons I have learned through the last three months will stay with me forever and that others can learn from them as well. So don’t just sit there and complain about your life. Get up and move.