Epiphanies often happen when we recognize our placement in positions of limited power.
Several years ago, I fell down the stairs. In an attempt to protect my wailing toddler who stood at the top, I attempted to carry him down to my bedroom. Unfortunately, in a surreal few seconds, I realized I missed a step. And there was no landing place for my foot. In what must have been an unconscious desire to keep my son from hitting the concrete floor, I shifted my body’s position and landed on my side. Hard.
In those immediate moments, the consequences remained unclear. After checking on the physical state of my son, the reality of my broken body emerged. Shock, swollen limbs, and pain gradually communicated that something was wrong. Through an ER Visit, a cat scan and a visit with an orthopedic surgeon, I received a diagnosis: a broken shoulder and arm.
Fortunately, scheduled surgery would repair it. However, it didn’t fix my frustration at being restrained. It’s so easy to take independence for granted and define it by preconceived nuances. But when those things are compromised, it causes some self reflection. How did I define them previously? How do they shape my sense of identity and power?
Needing to be dependent on others, particularly my husband and children, frustrated me. We can laugh now, but letting my husband do my hair was a point of frustration. My expectations for Christmas, only four days away, needed adjusting. I struggled. I wanted my power back.
But, the gift I received in the midst of recovery came disguised. It was the realization that my identity is not dependent on “doing.” It’s about living in the place that I am in at any given moment. For me. it meant recognizing the sacred gifts of interconnectedness: God meeting our needs through each other. That looks like meals, caring for kids, and even a cape (since you can’t fit a broken shoulder into a coat). I learned the necessity of rest and unexpected opportunities to spend time in solitude or in front of a favorite tv show.
God meets us wherever we are. And somehow, those nurturing and healing hands shape more than a broken body. They shape a spirit. Every time I see the scars on my shoulder I remember what took place, But they speak to much more than an event. They are part of a bigger story. One that I do not want to forget.
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Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
I’ve broken bones, yeah, here and there,
but nothing came untoward,
and I went on with out a care
and splints of stiff cardboard.
The limbs, they healed a little bent,
but what the heck, they mended,
but what was never my intent,
was that when I was newly-wed
and had a bone-snap fall,
Barb thought that I had lost my head
and she did not agree at all
with cardboard splint and some duct-tape…
and pondered annulment as escape.
Ha! My husband would appreciate your handyman hack idea!