“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
And speaking of vulnerable…
Two months or so ago, I broke my wrist. While, I wish I had an exciting tale, there was no tackling and arresting a wanted fugitive or saving a child from a burning building. Unfortunately, I have no cool war story… I was in a car accident. On top of which I broke my wrist, leaving me with a very obvious sign of my wreck for at least the next 6 weeks (ended up being 5 weeks thank Jesus), not to mention bruises and a concussion I preferred to pretend didn’t exist. It was a pretty humbling experience.
What I am about to share with you was not something I learned immediately. In fact, the first week, the concussion and the event left my emotions a little wild… and I cried… a lot, and didn’t really see anything good about my wreck. I felt awful, physically, emotionally, and my pride felt rather bad too. I was reduced to one usable arm and two fingers I could kinda sorta use that stuck out of the cast. I had no car and all of my plans for the next two weeks had been suddenly killed. But with a little time and perspective, while I would still very much choose to not have wrecked, good did come from this.
The first immediate thing that happened was I was forced to slow down. Quite literally 40mph to 0mph instantly (too soon?) but also in the weeks that followed. Because of my concussion, I couldn’t work for a couple weeks. My body demanded rest for healing and I slept a lot those first few days, something I later realized I had needed. I was also forced to slow down my thoughts and just relax. Something about a traumatic brain injury makes it a little harder to think deep intellectual thoughts ;).
I also learned a lot about who really cared for me. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people sent me texts and messages, stopped by, and called me to check on me and offer to help. People who truly cared and just wanted me to be okay. People who remembered when my doctor’s appointments were and asked me about them afterwards. People who didn’t owe me a damn thing who went way out of their way to care. I blame it slightly on the concussion, but I cried from how many people cared. And then there were other people who in all reality should have cared who never even asked if I was okay, which hurt and left some scars, but it gave me insight into which ones I should be focusing on and who I needed to prune out of my life.
I was forced to ask for help. I had to ask multiple times for rides. I needed help rewrapping my soft cast. I needed help car shopping. I needed help buttoning my pants. I even needed help doing my hair one day. As someone who prides herself on doing everything herself, it was humbling. But those things, asking for help, allowed me to bond more with those people. Especially asking someone to button my pants… you get real close real quick.
I had the opportunity to spend a long weekend with my family for Thanksgiving. While I had taken a day off before the wreck, because of my time off, I was able to spend more time with my family and especially more than a few hours with my San Fran family who flew in.
I got to work in a different area and learn a completely different side of policing, and I found that I really enjoyed it. Now, I can not only use what I learned as I go back to the streets, but it gives me motivation in my career to learn more and work harder and smarter.
I learned a whole lot about how a bone heals. I’m slightly obsessive and learned not only how it heals, but all the nutrition that plays into it and what supplements to take to heal faster.
I gained some winter insulation… Not being able to workout for over a month + my appetite = a few extra temporary curves. Keeps me warmer. Don’t be jealous.
I also had the opportunity to go to church consistently for a few weeks. I had previously prayed for some stability with church/fellowship. Working every other week and being on nights makes it difficult to make it to church and fellowship becomes almost non-existent. But my temporary “normal” work schedule gave me the chance to spend a few weeks to get my spiritual ducks in a row a bit before my schedule went back to topsy-turvy. And to be honest, God used that time to catalyst some construction in this soul. Not really fond of the demo work going on, frankly, but we will see where it leads.
I’ll probably never know if that wreck was merely an unfortunate event or if it kept me from something else happening. Maybe had I continued down the road, I would have been in a worse accident or maybe my mistake put me in the right place at the right time later or maybe I just had a dumb moment. No matter the reason, I found myself at a detour having to take the long way around to get back to where I wanted to be.
” Detours are a good thing that often feel bad. This is because it’s in our detours that we’re developed for our destiny. Because of the detour, we must go off the beaten path, take longer than we had wished, and be inconvenienced more than we had hoped. “- Dr. Tony Evans
I’ve had many detours in my life, few of which I enjoyed… at least in the beginning.My need for control is a daily struggle against God’s call to submit. But I’m learning… slowly… that detours may just have some good in them. Some detours gave me exactly the skill I needed for my next thing. Other detours, I have yet to see the why, and thinking about them kinda gives me anxiety all over again.
No I’m not trying to paint my car accident as some miraculous event and try to make it seem like it’s a good thing. It’s not. And Yeah, I wish I hadn’t wrecked. I wish a lot of things were different than they are. That’s life. But I am learning to recognize the insight and experience that only comes from unexpected events whether they are your mistake or something someone else has done to you, and while I may hate the situation, I can still use what I learn as fuel to better my life. Terrible things happen, far worse than car accidents, and they give us experiences we wish we didn’t have, depth we could do without, and understanding and empathy we would prefer to just read about. BUT, while we can’t always pick our course, I do believe we can use our experiences to enhance our lives and the lives of others.