Tuesday, August 29, 2017

By Accident

Consider the *pause* before-- this realization that, taking a step back, the snarl in front of you might start to make some sense, or at the least you can start to enjoy its intricacies, its puzzle.

That’s what I’ve been learning about these past months, with many life lessons still and always in progress, and it’s making me more human. Which is to say, more vulnerable, more fragile, and at the same time stronger, if conflicted. The point of my musing today? That if you think you’ve got things figured out, you’re stagnating or avoiding something. And just about all pain and suffering is a space for something new to sprout, something that may not have had the chance otherwise, not without some pushback in conflict to lead the way.

Now, don’t get me wrong: i don’t enjoy living in conflict. In fact, what I want to do is crawl under the covers and hide, sometimes. My mind reminds, me , though, that in past times, facing conflict has often (if not always) been a fruitful endeavor. Except some moments don’t seem fruitful, but instead designed to awaken.

This summer I really felt as though my family had come to a new sense of itself; between my littlest approaching two, and all of us learning better self-understanding, self-care, and genuine communication, it seemed as though our baby steps had added up to the greatest possible good. This culminated especially in our trip to the Outer Banks, which, by the way, in and of itself will offer you a place to pause. To meditate. All that blue!

Anyway, the day after we got back from what I had dreaded most to begin with—the road trip—we found ourselves quite happy and indeed in communion with each other. That afternoon, on an ordinary errand, and not one mile from our home, my husband got into an accident that would create a shift for us mostly (and thankfully) in our understanding of life’s tenuousness and our resilience. And remind us that we had some seriously powerful help from the beyond.

As he waited to make his left turn off Atlanta Highway (yes, that very one), he was rear-ended, pushed into oncoming traffic, hit by a truck on the passenger side, and rolled into a ditch. Upside down he managed to drag himself out of the old truck, which he found broken in four places on the frame, and after an entire evening at the hospital we discovered he’d walked away with two fractured ribs, and two fractured lumbar transverse process—those wings on the bones. When the doctor sent us home at midnight, we looked at him incredulously. And then at each other. And then began a journey of physical healing to accompany the spiritual, emotional, and mental paths we’d already taken.

When I think back to the call he made to me that day—and how I blanked out, how the pause came before me: what to do? Who can help me? I need to get to him, but I need to care for my little ones, I can’t bring them to the scene of an accident.  Between my patient sister on the phone in Massachusetts, and some (actually, thank goodness) nosy neighbors from down the street (everyone else we knew on vacation), we got the help we needed, and really out of nowhere. A sense of care came for us in our time of need. I am always grateful for this—and have noticed the pattern in my life of help in place just as it becomes necessary, just as the strangle and tangle of life seems about to take over. Now, my gratitude has morphed into a need to find a way to help others, each day, in any small way—to put out into the world what it so desperately needs right now, especially in such a time fraught with true ugly, selfish, self-serving, non-compassionate behaviors, in the midst of which real people are getting hurt, and new hates arise. There are so many in need of care, out there, right now: physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, all forms of care. My husband was able to heal in six weeks’ time, and as slow as that seemed at first—he slept the entire first week solid—we still find ourselves amazed. For so many reasons you can imagine. We find ourselves in the firm knowledge that to act in compassion for others is a true step toward  the divine.