Monday, July 12, 2010
Last week was my family vacation week. I had my bags packed, a book picked out to read and a whole week to meander around with my family on day trips to museums, relaxing drives and maybe even a trip to see a movie. To be honest, one of the things I most looked forward to was soaking up some sun by the above ground pool at my mother-in-law's home.
Saturday afternoon, I took a dip in the pool and after cool down climbed to ladder back down to sit in a lawn chair. I had my sun glasses, my water bottle and my already selected reading. I was set for vacation.
Just then, I noticed the lawn chair was too low and started working on the metal arms to prop myself up just so. The chair was stuck on the right side, so I pulled myself out of the chair and started banging on the frame with my right hand. I had a fleeting thought that I should be careful with the metal edge as the lever arm finally came loose and reset itself in place. A wave of pain ran up my arm and I looked down to see the flap of skin that used to cover my right thumb just hanging from the digit. I went inside, wash out the slice, poured antiseptic on the wound and held it tight for a few minutes. The bleeding slowed down and I resolved to not go to the ER like my family suggested, but to return to my chair and my book.
I was on vacation after all.
The next morning I got up early for my morning run and headed out the door with my dog. Part of the route I run in this location runs past railroad tracks that lead to a park and running trail by the Allegheny River. Since I had more time, I decided to take the scenic route along the train tracks, actually on the tracks. I was chugging along a a nice pace when my shoe got stuck on a railroad tie and I lurched forward. It felt as if I was moving in slow motion, but I let go of the dog lead placed my hands forward and attempted to catch myself on the wood plank heading towards my head.
My legs hit first digging into the stones, then my stomach and ribs, my hands grasped the wood plank heading towards my face but my head carried through and banged into the railroad tie. I think I even felt my brain slosh around inside my skull upon impact. It may sound weird, but I laughed as I found myself laying on the ground and seeing my dog looking me in the eye literally. It was as if someone had turned my world upside down for a moment and I ended up out of sorts in the mix up.
I slowly picked myself off of the tracks, brushed the gravel out of my hands, legs and stomach and felt all over my body to asses the damage. My head was pounding and as I touched it and found a nice goose egg above my left eye. It was amazing to me that beside a few scrapes and bumps I seemed to be in alright shape. I called my dog, picked up the leash and walked off the track to find the path I had wanted to find all along.
I had begun my vacation with an outline of things and expectations I expected to occur. I did not expect to injure myself in such random ways and I most definitely did not expect to find myself sitting in the ER last Sunday waiting to have my thumb (that opened back up as a result of the fall), my bruised and chewed up knees and goose-egged head looked at by the doctor on call. I also did not expect the butterfly wrap with thumb cast and tetanus shot I would leave the ER with that day. I was given expressed direction to rest by the doctor or he threatened to wrap me in bubble wrap before I walked away and headed back the rest of my vacation.
One week later, most of my boo boos are healed and I found myself thinking how things could have been so much more serious. I'm thankful that the only permanent result of these events will be a few benign scars and a renewed respect for lawn chairs, railroad tracks and rest. The bread of my vacation was ordered by the doctor as rest. I wonder why rest has to be ordered by someone else for me to observe it? Rest is not only something for vacation time or part of discharge directions from the ER. Rest is a part of life that needs to be observed on a REGULAR basis.
There are lots of things we can desire in life, but when you whittle it down to basics it all comes down to living in love, purposeful action and intentional rest. If these basics were more attended to, I think I'd spend much less time wearing band-aids.
This last week though, the band-aids I wore reminded me of the bread of rest that is available to me if only I pick it up and carry it with me, even if it is contained in a first aid kit. :)
What was your bread this last week?