As a young girl in the 1970s I had no desire to be in Ice Capades nor was I into ice skating at the rink, however, when I sat down in the hair dresser’s chair around age nine I told her that I wanted a Dorothy Hamill haircut*. I felt so edgy with my new do, especially when wearing my “Buffalo” shoes and my newly pierced ears!
Anyway, when we had an early morning ice storm a little over two weeks ago I had an appointment for my routine mammogram. This was shortly after having numerous jabs over a period of a few weeks as well as my annual eye dilation to check the spot in the back of my eye that hopefully won’t ever turn into cancer. Wayne had driven me to my appointment and we made it there and back safely. I was so elated about the fact that my mammogram didn’t hurt at all. I turned to Wayne before I got out of the car and said smiling: “I’m done being poked and prodded! ” It was a great feeling. “I’ll go check the mail.” Likely beaming, I stepped out of the car in my non-edgy Timberland boots, and, feeling like I was walking on air, was briskly and harshly schooled.
Before I got sober over twenty-five years ago, without incident I was able to navigate the cobblestone streets of Portland’s Old Port (which they’re now renovating to make them safer) while intoxicated wearing insensible shoes. Since that time I’ve prided myself on never having a slip, alcoholically or on the ice during the harsh Maine winters.
Pride is dangerous.
It was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever experienced. My eyes were on the mailbox when suddenly I heard the sound of my boots sliding on the ground as my body was lifted into the air before I crash landed on the right side of my back/butt near the edge of our driveway. I think the whole thing took no more than two seconds. My first thought was “Can I move?” since very bad things can happen when you have blunt trauma to your back. Yes. Phew, OK. But I was hurting.
Wayne, who confirmed how quickly it had happened, came over and helped me up. Just then a jogger approached (joggers routinely run here in all kinds of inclement weather, sometimes wearing shorts in January!) and asked if he could help walk me to the house with Wayne. Immediately my fears about being hurt were replaced with wounded pride. “Thanks, I’m fine,” I said with a half smile as we gingerly walked to the house.
I’m lucky. I didn’t fall on my head, break a wrist or my arm which is common when people fall on ice. Although I was hurting I was able to walk and it seemed like I was just banged up. I did NOT want to go to my doctor after being so over with said poking and prodding. Pride can be such a destructive thing. It was after a spiritual reading about pride that I realized I was not helping my case or morale with denial, especially since two weeks later I have pain walking. Also, I’m pretty sure my alignment is now off. I need help with healing. Acknowledging that I need help is a hard one for me, but too bad because that kind of attachment to the illusion of stoicism and self-sufficiency is weak.
I did go to the doctor who doesn’t think I broke anything but said I have a sprained/strained sacroiliac joint. Physical therapy and possibly osteopathic manipulation are next. (Anyone reading here have experience with that??)
So why is this post title about staying alight? Because I’m in a really good place. I’ve been forced to stay put more and this is the perfect time of year for that! I’m enjoying reading the books I’ve been neglecting and writing my book on my couch via my laptop. I’ve been getting the rest I think I’ve needed for a while.
My biggest lesson is that grace trumps being graceful. None of us can be graceful at all times, but grace is always freely given to us when we are open to it. I felt like a cloddy old lady when that jogger witnessed my fall and asked if he could help. He was being kind, not a menacing witness. What matters in life is how we deal with our falls, whatever they may be, and the fallout from them. The gift of Grace is a blessing and it doesn’t come from within. That means that we can have Grace at any time, especially when it’s been lacking within us. It just means we have more room for it. Thank God!
*Moving forward I’m not going to hold back on outdated references that perhaps only the Gen Xers and Boomers will get, but hey, I’m 52 not 22. The other day at Whole Foods the young guy at the register asked if I had anything fun planned that evening. “Yeah, watching the Lawrence Welk show!” I thought he’d get a kick out of that at my expense. He had no idea what that was. I had to explain it was an “old person” TV show. “Oh, you mean like that TV show ‘I Love Lucy’?” Yikes.