40 days, 40 years, 40 a rather significant number in Scripture. The Hebrews spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness before entering the promised land, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. The number 40 is used to designate times of trial and tribulation, a time when one is tested, entering into the fires that either destroy or temper the soul. Today is day 40 since the accident and the surgery. It has been a journey that has tested my faith, my emotions, my own feelings of self worth. From the moment when I hit the pavement to today, I have been reflecting on how this has affected me as a person. This down time has given me the opportunity to read more and spend time in quiet meditation while also working hard to get back to where I was prior to this happening. Along the way I have entered into the darkness of my own self, a melancholy feeling, doubting that I will ever be normal to the elation of riding on a simple, stationary recumbent bike in the physical therapists gym.
I just finished reading Kent Haruf’s novel Benediction yesterday and I was struck by statement from the much troubled pastor Rob Lyle, who is out one night just observing the world and homes around him, when asked why he’s doing this he speaks of “the precious ordinary.” In his darkest part of life, his congregation falling apart, a spouse who wants to leave him and a son suffering in his own type of hell he sees the “precious ordinary” all around. People living their lives, trying their best to be good, failing at times but still in the eyes of the Holy their lives are precious a true sacrament of love.
So many people rush around, they have bucket lists and grand ideas for the future and all the while they miss the “precious ordinary” that is all around them. They fail to see one another, they fail to see that which is right in front of their faces as they reach out to a future that is simply an illusion. Being broken has given me time to see the precious ordinary, to realize that it’s not about bucket lists or having it all but in the simple touch of a loving hand, in the gift of a smile, the pleasure in doing the most ordinary of tasks.
These 40 days have gone by quickly, they have reminded me of what is really important in my life. The future I reached out for prior to this was just a mist that dissipated as quickly as fog when the sun rises, yet I have received so much more and though I regret the losses I rejoice in the gains. Life, in all its forms, is meant to be lived in the here and now and not in the fantasy of a future that may never arrive. In the evening, when it is dark and I lay in my bed I reach out and touch the arm of my loving wife, Jane. I realize how close I came to losing that 40 days ago, that my life, my one precious wild life, could have come to an end and I would have lost that love.
What will the next 40 days bring? I have no idea, what I do know is that I will live as well as I can in the moment, in my own thoughts, my own meditations, in my deep love for family and the clear knowledge that even the ordinary life is extraordinary.