The day begins perfect, a last ski trip for the season. And we are excited.The lift beckons us up into glory, and the sun's warm caress promises a good day. The icy crust increases our speed, but I am too novice to be very concerned. I will just keep it where I can handle it. Nerves will quiet once the snow softens and I find my groove. This is just the beginning of the day. And that's when it falls apart. Too novice to know how to manage the crusty speed, I can't catch an edge turning on the traverse, and barrel over the mountain's side.
In the time it takes to say "Oh no!" I careen over the edge into the snowfence, where my skis tangle, and the rest of me hangs upside down on the steep decline. My right forearm flung in a bionic angle, and my first thought pierces through the pain, "Oh God! I can't work!"
So I ride in ambulance and inhale laughing gas. And I wait as throbbing turns to locked spasm. And I gasp pain to rotate my arm for X-rays. And the diagnosis "dislocation" sets my mind happy. It could have been so much worse.
And there's nothing to do but wait: for morphine to kick in, then to run its course out of my system, for the doctor to set the elbow, for the sedative to wear off, for me to stop shaking, for our friends to pick us up.
And I'm never alone. In this weakness and truncated state, I'm surrounded with love and mercy. And there's nothing to do but rest in it.
And the gifts begin to flow: more than I can number. People stationed perfectly, who go out of their way to care for me, clients understanding and wishing me well while they wait for me to recover, filling in for the secretary at the office. Ah yes, and work is a gift, and time off is a gift. Several days to finally cross off lingering projects on the backburner list, and happiness to know life now has room for change.