I am an occupational therapist. I teach my patients how to save energy, be safe, be independent, and use their resources to accomplish their goals. But lately I’ve had to teach myself the same things. You met my new home, Wayrad Haven, in the last post. She was empty of furniture, but full of hopes and plans… and danger.
I packed, organized, planned, and hired movers. I was up early that fateful Sunday to take down curtains and do last minute preparations. I worked all day long. And in the evening, when my energy was spent, I went downstairs to grab the box cutter and open up my bathroom boxes to take a shower and sleep soundly in my new house for the very first night. Except my staircase had other plans.
The staircase that was so beautiful and appealing during my walk throughs. The staircase I planned to line with photos of travel adventures and decorate with garland at Christmas time. That staircase tried to kill me.
I walked downstairs with nothing in my hands, no distractions, and just missed a step. I landed on the outside of my right ankle and slammed my left foot against the tile. My body ricocheted off the wall and I caught a picture from falling on my head. I screamed in pain and fear during the fall and felt things pull, pop and snap that were decidedly disconcerting. After laying on the floor for an hour attempting not to throw up, I went to the emergency room to get x-rays, fearing the worst.
My mind was full of anxieties. What if my foot was broken? Could I go back to work at my physically-demanding job? How would I pay my brand new mortgage? What is wrong with my body?
The entire home buying process was anxiety-inducing and now I had extra fears on the very day I moved in. I was stationary and afraid, thinking, “Lord, what are you doing in this timing?”
My mom came down for a week to help care for me because I was useless! There was one morning that I woke up and my crutches had fallen too far away for me to reach, and I couldn’t get out of bed. I started crying at that point, feeling helpless and totally dependent upon others for support and aid, and surrounded by mounds of boxes that I needed to unpack. I didn’t know where anything was and had trouble navigating my own home. I have had a month to think about this struggle. I am a doer at heart. I love checking things off of my task list and achieving, so to be forced to sit and be and receive help is very challenging for me. I have learned about the beauty of community and people who provide physical, spiritual, and emotional support in a wide variety of ways. People have helped me unpack, mowed my lawn, brought meals, sent memes, called, moved furniture, and helped me laugh.
Laughter for me is a great litmus test for how my soul is doing. I knew I would laugh at this incident in the future, but I surely couldn’t when it first happened. It has been said that comedy is tragedy plus time. I see the truth in that, but I have been thinking differently about laughter. Laughter is letting go if even just for a moment and believing in better things. Laughter is a bubbly, effervescent form of hope*. Laughter can be defiant of one’s current circumstances with a confidence that they can change. Laughter can demonstrate that no matter how dark the night is, that the dawn is coming, and joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). I laugh not because all is well right now, but because all will be well.
After a series of xrays, orthopedic follow ups, walking boots, crutches, knee scooters, and therapy (I am a very good therapy patient!), I am –sort of– back on my feet a month later. There is still swelling and tenderness and I have a limp. I am growing slowly, but surely to enjoy my home. It will take some time to be friends again, after all, she tried to kill me. But I go on knowing that God is in control of all my stumbilngs. I can laugh at myself, hope in the future — and hang onto the handrail on my beautiful, tricky staircase!
*I am modifying a concept from author, Anne Lamott, who calls laughter a form of holiness. I think hope is a better connection between the now and the not yet we experience this side of Heaven.