One of the petitions in the Great Litany is this; “From all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion; from violence, battle, and murder; and from dying suddenly and unprepared, Good Lord, deliver us.” Eighty days ago this petition was played out when I was hit by a car door while cycling on the morning of June 5. I am still working on getting back to my pre-accident way of life. It has been a long road full of peaks and valleys. There are days when I feel like I’ve made huge progress then there are those days when it feels like I’ve taken a step back. Each new exercise that the physical therapists give me to do challenge my body in a different way as the muscles in my hip and thigh relearn how to function. This down time has also given me time to think, which can be dangerous especially for an introvert who tends to live an interior life. I have thought more about death and what it might mean, yet I survived this encounter. The huge emotional ride I was on in those first days after the accident have now settled into a slow, steady path moving toward healing.
Several times I’ve been told that the reason nothing worse, like dying, happened is because God is not finished with me yet or that I still have something to accomplish. I’ve heard others tell me that my “guardian angel” was not with me on that day, or that God decided that I needed a trial, sort of like Job. Of course, that is not my theology or thought pattern. No amount of Saints medallions or a bottle filled with holy water blessed by the Blessed Virgin herself, were going to save me from this accident. It’s not so much being saved from these times of difficulties but it’s how we continue to live and love in the days after. Many give up, unwilling to do what’s necessary to heal. Still others live with the anger of the unfairness of it all, until it becomes like a piece of cold, black coal lying within the heart cutting off any light. Grace is that moment when one realizes that no matter what, love continues to work through our stubbornness. It is grace that pounds away at that lump of coal we carry until it is broken down so that the light can break through and shine on our wounded places to begin the healing.
I have been graced in having that love and light that has helped in my own healing. The love of my wife, taking that wedding vow of “in sickness and in health” above and beyond in being my angel in this wilderness. I have been graced with doctors, physical therapists and nurses, who see, not just a broken body, but a person who at times needs that push and tough love to get through this valley. I have been graced with a community and faith that carries me through each day as I work to overcome those temptations just to give up.
Grace surrounds me each day, it strengthens me for the trials ahead and paves the way for my healing in both body and soul. I don’t know what the future holds, if anything I’ve learned that I can only live day to day, moment to moment, keeping open the pathways to my heart and my eyes open to those in my life.