August 6, 2009 . . . the day I landed flat on my face. I woke up to an amazingly routine morning. (Call me boring but I love routine!) The aroma of hot nectar beckoned me downstairs. I read and reflected, setting rhythm to my day. I prayed with a hurting soul, and answered a backlog of emails. Eventually, I hopped on my road bike to soak in the morning’s beauty, traveling along back roads to stay out of traffic, as is my routine (told ya!).
A couple of hours later, my husband received an unexpected call from an unfamiliar voice. “I found your wife unconscious, facedown in the middle of the road. An ambulance is on its way. Meet us at the hospital.”
Although I remember nothing about that day (not even the nectar), I eventually regained consciousness in the Neuro-ICU. The head injury itself should have taken my life. While my helmet smashed into pieces, I broke in only a few. Within days, I began to speak and think coherently.
A week later, surgeons put Humpty-Dumpty back together again with steel rods and bolts to repair my shoulder. Once hospitals and surgeries were in my rearview mirror, I assumed the worst was behind me. Yet, the coming days would test the very core of who I am.
For three long months, all traces of independence vanished. My routine (there’s that word again) shattered into unidentifiable pieces. I could not bathe or clothe myself. I couldn’t cut meat much less cook it. I could not buckle my shoes or sleep in a bed. Excursions were restricted to physical therapy and Church. My husband chauffeured me everywhere because, oh yeah, I couldn’t drive either.
I learned a lot about myself in that desert season. Most of it wasn’t pretty. First of all, pride consumed more of me than I admitted. Wearing a baseball cap to hide hair I couldn’t fix took its toll. My wardrobe consisted of three hideous shirts that accommodated my immovable shoulder. My cosmetic application efforts proved the equivalent of a six-year-old. Every girl longs to feel beautiful; God made us that way. Yet, when outward beauty becomes our defining mark, superficiality prevails. Unknowingly, my priorities had become misaligned.
Secondly, this girl loves her ducks in a row. Naively, I believed those “unexpected calls” were always for someone else, like somehow I was invincible. When my world came to a screeching halt, my ducks scattered. I realized I possessed only the illusion of control. We are so utterly dependent on God for even our next breath. Independence is a lie we feed ourselves to feel empowered. Somewhere along the journey, I lost sight of this reality.
Finally, I realized in spite of my verbal confessions, my sense of worth wrapped tightly around what I did rather than who I was. I allowed performance to measure me. Without the ability to function, I felt incredibly insignificant. Who am I if I can’t do anything for anyone, including myself?
In that dry season, I had to get real with the person in the mirror. It’s amazing how the most barren seasons of our lives can produce some of the sweetest harvests if we let them. Ironically, the desolate times can be the most productive ones. We finally look God’s way, giving Him our undivided attention, only to discover He’s been looking our way all along. We discover that He doesn’t measure us as we measure ourselves. Our performance doesn’t impress or depress Him. He’s here and He’s not bailing when the going gets tough.
I’d love to say I will always remember that day but in reality, I can’t. I still have no recollection of that routine morning or the events that followed. I have no idea what hit me or how long I laid in that road. Yet, I retain great treasures from that season. My body carries scars that remind me of an experience that compelled me to live deeper. They remind me of an exasperating season that magnified the gift of today. Yes, beyond the scars, permanent marks are now imprinted upon my soul. From this deeper place, I endeavor to leave a mark, not with my name on it, but with HIS . . . the One who gives each of us the gift called . . . today. For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at PastorDebbie@HopeCommunityChurch.tv.