My chin hit the pavement. The compact area of flesh and bone, no more than a few inches in total, absorbed the impact of my entire body in unhindered free fall. I was certain that my jaw was broken.
Scene I – The Fall
Last week, after several days’ procrastination, I could no longer deny the call of Eden-like autumn weather. I laced up my shoes and set out for a quick run. One step, then two. As I’d taken a thousand times before. But step three threw a rather large glitch into the dependable process. From the ankle down, my foot went numb. Rather than holding my weight and propelling me forward, it seemed to disappear. There was no mitigating stumble forward to be caught by the alternate foot. If I were watching through a window across the street, I’d imagine the scene would resemble the toppling of a cleanly hewn tree. Only faster. In an instant, I saw the crimson trees ahead, then blood on the pavement. Nothing in between.
Scene II – Emergency room
Waiting. Bright lights. Sharp pain transitioned into dull throb. Test results were announced. No break – only stitches needed. Dear friend came to hold my hand. All would heal.
Scene III – Recovery
Within hours, my speed of had dramatically decelerated. Everyday scenes, which normally roll by with a steady fluidity, were reduced to a series of plodding individual snapshots. My movements were slow and deliberate. Each minute had expanded, allowing a space for heightened awareness. I looked at my hand. Skin left upon the pavement was already being replaced. Specialized white blood cells invaded my palm like FEMA infiltrating a disaster site. My jaw, which had taken the brunt of the impact, was already doing the silent, steady work of repair.
When I take account of the events that transpired, I’m stopped by the “what-could-have-beens.” The doctor said it could have easily been a broken jaw. Or a concussion. Or worse. My husband, who had been minutes from leaving town, could have been long gone. Rather than appearing at my door within minutes, my friend could have been too far away to help.
Yes, “what-could-have-beens” have the potential to cast a threatening spell of fear. A dark cloud hovering, power found only in its suggestion.
Scene IV – Surprise ending
Most days, I am tragically unaware that atoms of nitrogen and oxygen are dependably, tirelessly scattering the sun’s rays of light throughout the atmosphere. The blue sky is a miracle. But I just might not notice it until the clouds come.
For the past four decades, my lungs haven steadily taken in oxygen and disposed of carbon dioxide, providing a constant source of fuel for this organic machine.
My foot, the one responsible for my fall, has been faithful to support me for millions of steps.
My jaw, now bruised and swelling, has allowed countless meals to be enjoyed, loved ones to be kissed, and songs to be sung.
My nerves, skeleton, and flesh have worked together in seamless concert as I’ve danced, run, given birth, washed dishes.
Yes, I’m grateful that my fall wasn’t worse. At first, I claimed the absence of disaster as the miracle. But as my halted pace of life has allowed time for further consideration, I’ve been surprised by my shift in perspective. Or perhaps I should say my by my corrected vision.
Each step. Each breath. Each heartbeat. Each new skin cell. Those are the miracles. Our dismissed blue skies.
The miracle is found in the
of the everyday.