There is nothing like a visit to the Emergency Room to remind one of the things to be grateful for. More so when the issue turns out to be rather minor compared to what could’ve been.
There is also the hidden message in the very happening that one should heed. Yes, I am ‘the one’ in this case. While arranging little boy’s room last night and multitasking as I do at times, I wrongly assessed the height of a staggered piece of furniture. The knee that took the brunt of it made a sound that told of my mistake. A crunch of sorts that didn’t bide well. Yes, it hurt.
The next logical step was the ER. It is never a jolly scene there. You wait, you see a lot of suffering, rushed and exhausted medical staff, and people from all walks of life humbled by various health issues. Sobering indeed. We were third in line.
My husband and I were planning on a date for last night. It became one, but we wrote none of the terms other than those pertaining to togetherness. In sickness and in health, for better or worse. Grateful? Of course. Our date came with neon lights, waiting rooms, more waiting rooms and some unsmiling faces. On the plus side, we got some good reading time. A mom’s life allows for little leisure time so if I have to break a bone or stretch a ligament for it, so be it, the wisdom from above concluded.
As I sunk into my book beautifully titled ‘The gardener and the carpenter’ by Alison Gopnik, I came across soulful bits that soothed both heart and knee: ‘Loving children doesn’t give them a destination; it gives them sustenance for the journey.’ yes, it is a book about children, parents, and the bond between them, the mysterious, larger than life self-sacrificial love that takes the latter to the ends of the earth and back. Sustenance for the journey… The very words bumped into the worry ripples that mothering and homeschooling create occasionally and peace settled. It will all work out somehow in the end.
The wait in the ER allowed for slowness, the kind I rarely get. I suddenly had time. Granted, it was spent in life’s monetarily tight pocket, along with other humans whose faces betrayed pain and worry. You’re alone when you hurt and then you’re not.
In the ER under those neon lights, the hurt ones share the small space where gratefulness gets a renewed license and a sudden return to the importance of basic needs is guaranteed. Pain takes you to a place where few things matter. You’re present but somehow you appear in a smaller size, as if shrunken by forces you will never understand fully but are willing to learn about, especially during the shrinking. Then you get better and you forget all about the crisis that made you feel small and vulnerable. Or perhaps you don’t.
The X-ray room is intimidatingly minimalistic. Everything glides. Bed, big X-ray machine, the technician’s shoes, reminders of the barely moving patients that pass through. So many broken parts… you slide the people ever so gently into the room and get the machines to hover over them so they can be put back together. Fragility redefined.
I tell myself I will not be slowed down for long. My mind allies with me to get the body to believe it can move fast soon enough. There’s boys and pup and so much life bubbling. Gratefulness abounds. Counting my blessings while the big X-ray machine whirs. Get back, get the better than expected news, hobble out the door not before pushing the big green button. Leaving a world of pain behind. Gratefulness and sadness for what lies behind. For what lies ahead. Life is to be grateful for. Every day, every bit of every day and every instant that renders us alive after churning our souls through the pain and fear machine.
I remember reading this a while ago… ‘Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses…’ (Alphonse Karr). It is true. Life is not about being happy regardless. It is about finding bits of happiness among the potholes in the road that may or may not have you break your leg as you fall into them. Because you were too busy counting the birds in the sky, or the stars, or you were watching for the approaching storm. Either way. Life happens.