Last Sunday’s message was from 1 Peter on the subject of finding joy during times of suffering. If you’re skeptical and think that’s never happened since the Apostle Paul spent a night in a Philippian jail, then have I ever got a story for you from a friend who was in a terrible accident on Mackinac Island last August 31. My 63rd birthday was yesterday, but if you just want to hear Jane’s story, skip down to near the end. The prologue is this: For all but a very few of the last 38 birthdays, I’ve had the joy of sharing them with my son, Aaron, who was born on my 25th birthday, but this year work pressures kept him from bringing his family as he’d planned, and so I found myself with a free day, except that my wonderful husband took me out to Panera for hot chocolate and a (free birthday) pastry for breakfast, and then when he got home from work he took me out for dinner in Grand Haven. It got up to 79° yesterday—balmy and warm— so we took a leisurely stroll along the waterfront and out to the end of the pier. Meanwhile, I asked the Lord what He thought I should do with my windfall of free time, and it just seemed like He had some ideas! So, in the morning after breakfast, I whisked down to Spectrum to sit with my next-door neighbor, whose husband ended up having prostate cancer surgery on my birthday! (Everything went well and he has an excellent prognosis. :)) Then, I found my way down to Middleville to take Jane out for lunch. Jane was on Mackinac Island with her family just about one month ago and got in a freak accident while out bicycling with her grand daughter. A horse ran into her, spooked, and stepped on her, nearly killing her. She’s had an amazing recovery but (of course) has a very long way to go and is still in a lot of pain. At any rate, this is how Jane looked in the hospital a month ago, and this is how great she was looking yesterday already! Here are her thoughts:
Good morning everyone!¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ¸•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*•♫ Good Morning ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ 2 You¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
Yesterday, I got an email from a friend that said “Stay strong and positive. Not sure why I said that to the most positive person around.” Earlier in the day another friend approached me with a hug and kind compliment, “I’ve noticed you haven’t sounded angry or bitter.” Both comments caught me off guard. How could I be angry or bitter? How can I be anything but positive? Let me try to explain. From the moment I realized what happened I started thanking God for all the things that didn’t happen – and I know I was one breath from death. I didn’t get that.
I had been riding a bike with my 9 year old granddaughter and her 10 year old friend. I think I’m on the millionth prayer ‘Thank you, God that this didn’t happen to them.’ They were 20 feet ahead of me and spared any injury. I still can’t stop thanking God that nothing happened to those sweet little girls and that he protected them from harm. Mark 10:16 “He took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” He also protected them. I get that.
How can I be angry or let bitterness take root when I review what I didn’t get? My scalp was torn away from my skull and required 14 staples to put it back in place. I didn’t get a concussion and my skull didn’t crack. (There are advantages to being hard headed, I guess.)
When I looked up to see the horse moving forward, I moved to the left as quickly as I could. All my ribs on the right side front and back were crushed. My heart, just a couple inches away, was not touched. My heart could have been smashed, but I didn’t get that.
My shoulder blade cracked and while it’s the most painful area on my body, it wasn’t shattered beyond repair. It will always wing out now because that’s how it healed. I’ll forever wear that badge. It will be a constant reminder of God’s protection and blessing on my life.
I was wearing a backpack and every item inside was crushed, bent, or broken. My metal business card case, metal encased notepad, and metal enforced wallet were bent beyond further use, and my glasses inside a hard case were totally crushed. My spinal cord was unaffected – not even bruised. I could have been left with a damaged spinal cord, unable to walk – but I didn’t get that.
The sandals I was wearing rubbed blisters on my ankles, but my ankles didn’t get broken or sprained. Think of it. I could have gotten broken legs, crushed knees, broken pelvis … I didn’t get any of that.
When my ribs got crushed, my right lung was punctured and collapsed. God orchestrated the team of workers who showed up to save my life. What are the chances that the med station on Mackinaw Island would have a chest tube? How often would a medic be called upon to insert a chest tube, not from the bottom of the lung, which is the normal method, but from the top, down? God sent an ER doctor to the island that day and while talking on the phone to a doctor at the trauma center in Petoskey, inserted the chest tube that would inflate my lung and save my life. Miracles happened on August 31st. I get that.
Ephesians 3:17-20 “Let Christ dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
How can I be angry or bitter? There is no other attitude to have besides positive. Recovery is slow and I feel bad about not being able to work till the end of the contract I had at my job. I’m not sure how that factors in to God’s plan, but I know that every detail of life paints a tapestry designed by Him. I’m easily exhausted, but am not bed ridden. When I use this little netbook for writing, it has to be at a certain position due to the pain in my right side, and it’s difficult to write, but I can write and type . . . just in short periods.
Philippians 2:13-16 “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”
All prayers gladly accepted. They work. I get that. (This picture is of a plaque sitting directly in front of Jane’s door at home.)
*Thank you, dear Deb W., for the delightful birthday greeting at the top!