“Starting Over,” Feb. 21, 2017

Sometimes in life, we just have to start over.

Lately I’ve been trying to learn to walk again. Actually, I can walk, more or less. But it hurts. And it doesn’t look good.

My goal is not so much about looking good. But I’d like to lose the pain. And the limp.

I don’t remember the first time I learned to walk. I’m told I was 10 months old. That was a long time ago. Never mind how long. No matter how long we’ve been doing something, it seems sometimes, somehow, like it or not, we all have to start over.

Three months ago, I had surgery to repair a broken ankle. The surgery went well. The ankle is doing fine, thank you, as long as I don’t try to walk.

Silly me. I honestly thought the problem was the boot, an orthopedic torture chamber I had to wear day and night, even in bed where it didn’t bother me much, but it had a nasty habit of kicking my husband’s shins.

I figured, once I got out of that boot and was no longer confined to a wheelchair, I’d just take off and start walking, like always. I didn’t plan on the fact that my ankle would be stiffer than my grandmother’s hair after a trip to the beauty parlor.

And all my other parts that I’d not used in months (my back, my knees, my sense of balance) had to wake up and learn once again to pitch in and do their various and essential and too often taken for granted jobs.

I keep singing in the back of my mind, “Dem Bones,” an old spiritual I learned as a child: “Toe bone connected to the foot bone, foot bone connected to the heel bone, heel bone connected to the ankle bone … now hear the word of the Lord!”

They’re all connected _ bones, body, heart, mind and soul.

Three times a week, I go to physical therapy where some very smart and patient (and, at times, hilarious) therapists, who are young enough to be my children, are teaching me how to stretch, strengthen and walk again, preferably without a limp.

It’s helping. One of the best things about it is seeing others _ some in worse shape than I am in _ who are starting over, too. If I need further inspiration, I call my brother, Joe, who was born blind with cerebral palsy and uses braces and a cane to find his way in a dark world.

This is not the first time I’ve had to start over. In my senior year of high school, I wondered “What will I do now?” I wanted to go college, but had no means to do so, just a stubborn little hope that kept whispering in my ear, “By the grace of God, you will do this, and all will be well.”

Then a deacon in my church arranged for me to take a test for a scholarship that paid my way through college.

Years later, when my children were born, and I felt so clueless as a mother, that same hope whispered again.

When I took a part-time job as a file clerk for a newspaper and ended up as a reporter.

When I wrote the first of what has been 25 years of columns.

When my dad took his life.

When my first husband lost his battle with cancer and I found myself alone in a four-bedroom house with five sets of dishes and no one to feed.

And two years later, when my former editor, in a nervous sweat, confessed his heart and asked me to give him a chance.

Those times and countless others, I heard that whisper: By the grace of God, you will do this, and all will be well.

It was always just enough to help me start over _ again.

If you are starting over, please know that you are not alone. Some of us do it every day. And we all do it sooner or later.

Keep listening for that whisper of hope.

I haven’t quite lost the limp yet. Maybe tomorrow. Until I do, I’ll keep singing, “Dem bones gonna walk around.”


  1. Thank you!!! Love Dem Bones….brings my grandma close.❤. Prayers for your rehab and recovery.??

  2. Thank you, Sharon. I pray for your healing this morning. Yes, life is all about what we do with “starting over”. Does it grow us in wisdom and patience or does it make us bitter and angry? By the Grace of God, may we soften and grow with each beginning.

  3. Mary Ann says

    Thank you. Your timing with this is perfect.

  4. Robert Argot says

    Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, and I will be starting over again. Yesterday I officially said good-bye to my church of ten years, though I still have two day on the clock for some final reports, office cleaning, and an exit interview. And I am sure I will be contacted in the future for information that I may be perceived as the only one who knows. But I digress….

    Starting over is full of emotions. The longing for what was familiar. The excitement/anxiety of encountering what is new. The frustration over unlearning old habits. The awe of learning new ones. It will be a while before I start to feel comfortable in my new role and my new church, but hopefully never too comfortable, right?

  5. Betty Ann Cordaro says

    Sharon, your columns are so inspirational. I will await the one that reads, “Thankfully, No Pain and No Limp”. I am sure it will be coming…

  6. Kate Sciacca says

    Such a blessing that your dear spouse retired when he did, yes? Timing is everything in life ? Prayers for a full (and speedy as possible) recovery. One day at a time.

  7. Marian Wiscaver says

    I have been reading your column for many years. I too have just learned to walk again. I broke my leg while on vacation and was off work for three months. I am also trying to let my heart beat again after heartbreak. Your column is an inspiration and reminds me who is in control. Prayers to you in your recovery!

  8. I love reading your columns everywhere in our local newspaper. Love your sense of humor but most of all the encouragement you give to all of us. You show us all that life does and can go on, maybe not the way we planned but it can even be somewhat better. Keep on writing and sharing. May God bless and keep you and yours.

  9. As a new widow, I am starting over too and listening for God’s whisper. Your column struck a chord in my soul this morning!
    Keep up the therapy. Over 25 years ago my husband broke his ankle in seven places. He had surgery, slept in a hospital bed in our den for six months, wore a dreaded boot for what seemed like a year and graduated to a leg-brace that he wore for almost two years. It was a terrible time in our lives, but he got better with time. You will too.

    God is the great healer!

  10. Thanks for nice post. We love you and wish you new walking ability, finer and smoother than before.
    Writing again.

  11. Thank you sharon for this sweet hope to start again.
    Wish you all the love, support, perfect walking ability and pain free routine in next few days!! Lot of love.

  12. Sharon, be patient with yourself. I had a similar surgery in 2004 and endured 6 months of physical therapy as well. You will walk again much like you used to. However, don’t expect your ankle to feel the same again. Mine sometimes feels like it belongs to someone else. Good luck!

  13. Sheila Torres says

    So glad to see you back. Haven’t seen your column in a while and missed you! If anyone has the fortitude to push ahead – you do! You’ll be hopping down the “bunny trail” by Easter. God bless you always.

  14. Thank you and wishing you ease and agility. All the best.

  15. Jeannette Buck says

    Oh, goodness, lady, how do you do it? You get right to the heart of a matter so quickly, so concisely, and with so much wit! Thank you for what you do for me in every column.

  16. Joyce Capron says

    Hang in there! I had foot surgery a little over a year ago. My limp is almost gone, but it took some time. Yes, that boot is a torture chamber. Thanks for explaining the process so eloquently and with your usual unique insight.

  17. Patricia Shaffer says


  18. Sheri Titcombe says

    This column was written with me in mind. I’m faced with a changing life event. Thank goodness none of my family is dealing with a serious health condition, the Grace of GOD l get up every morning, enjoy his beauty and l must trust GOD’S wisdom that he knows what is best for me. My place of employment has told me that my job will be combined with another job and l could apply for it but doubtful that l will be selected. 31 years of service and I’m being phased out. One step at a time right?

  19. Debra Capell says

    Keeping you close to my heart as you regain your strength and mobile abilities. You’re tough, I know you will do this!

  20. If it were not for the grace of God, what would we do. Hope you get your walk back soon, just keep on keeping on.

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