Eugene Cho

celebrating a year of weakness…

In nearly 40 years of life, the most physical pain I have experienced was rupturing my Achilles tendon muscles – and that happened twice – to both tendons. A year ago this week, I ruptured my right Achilles and announced my retirement and I took off my mask.

Beyond the physical pain (and trust me, its painful), the ruptured Achilles symbolized an incredibly difficult year – the toughest in my year thus far. So, marking this past year, has been significant for me.

I know that none of my blog readers are celebrating. Even my wife and kids had no idea but this past week was a time of much reflection, prayer, and hope.

Yesterday after church, I shot some hoops in the back yard with my kids and tested my Achilles again and then did something I haven’t done in over a year: I went hiking (an hour trek). It wasn’t long and arduous but it again tested my Achilles and I’m still in one piece.

Why is this a big deal?

It’s been a tough year in many ways but I survived. I made it. I toughed it out. I persevered. I wrestled. And I am thankful for my family, friends, community, and most of all, God’s grace in the midst of all this…

And that, is worth celebrating…

I hope that you’ll never ever have to ask me for advice or for my experience but just in case:

  • Exercise regularly. 84% of ruptured Achilles happen to men between 30-40 who still think they are in their 20s.
  • Exercise regularly, stretch regularly, and cool down regularly.
  • I chose surgery for my left and natural healing for my right. I choose the latter for my right for financial reasons (since it’s FREE!) but if I needed to choose (in hindsight) and all things were equal, I’d go with surgery. Naturally, I prefer natural procedures rather than an incision into my body but I can tell the difference.
  • My right Achilles is still experiencing some pain and even though it’s been a year, it takes me about 5-10 minutes to walk off the pain. I’m wondering if it might be like this for the remainder of my life. The re-rupture rate is also slightly higher: 3-5% vs 8-15%
  • As for the advice about picking up different sports…you got to go for your passion and mine are Basketball, Volleyball, Hiking, and Baseball.

But be careful…

Well, here’s my video tryout for the Miami Heat. It still hurts a little. I can’t jump as high, move as quick, and the handle and shooting are all off. It might be time to buy those Kurt Rambis glasses and revamp my game as a soon to be 40 year old warrior.

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5 Responses

  1. Ben from TIC says:

    Regular exercise is crucial. I would also add a variety of exercise. I exercise for strength and health, and interestingly enough, the more I exercise the more I’m able to enjoy the sports I play. It’s no fun for me playing ultimate Frisbee when I can’t run my hardest and jump my highest to catch that thing! The grace of God through exercise ensures that I can have a good time and a clear conscience knowing that I played my best and my lack of strength and exercise didn’t hold me back.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Christian Ray Flores. Christian Ray Flores said: check this out In nearly 40 years of life, the most physical pain I have experienced was rupturing my… http://bit.ly/bv3mKZ by Eugene Cho […]

  3. mo says:

    Glad to head you’re recovering man. Good advice about stretching. I always skip that part, but now that I just passed my 30th birthday, I need to pay more attention.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      I never stretch. Ironically, the first time I ruptured my Achilles…I had this weird feeling and stretched alot and later that night, popped the Achilles.

      I think the key is regular exercise and regular stretching.

  4. Josue Diaz says:

    Excellent post! I know what you mean to go through this injury. I ruptured mine over a year ago (May 2nd, 2009) playing basketball and it’s been an incredible road back. I wasn’t a very patient person before, but that has since changed.🙂

    You definitely learn alot about yourself, your family/friends, faith and many aspects of life that you may have previously taken for granted.

    Your case is certainly different since two ruptures is even more incredible to come back from. WOW!

    I agree w/you on regularly exercising. I suppose I considered myself a “weekend warrior” when my injury occurred. I’m much more diligent now and don’t think the NBA scouts were looking at me anyway.🙂

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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