This morning I received an unexpected gift.
It’s from one of my life-long friends, Amy.
Amy (or Amelina, to me) and I will always have a special connection – not only have we known each other since kindergarten, but we were also hit by a car together in second grade. There is nothing like bonding over broken bones and body casts.
The accident happened back in the 70’s, when parents didn’t hover and kids had a little more time to explore different options. We explored the option, “Does it really make sense to cross at the light ALL the way at the end of the street when your house is actually in the middle of the block in the opposite direction?” The answer: Yes, yes it does. (And my kids and their friends get a daily street safety lecture from me, even though we’re the last house on a dead end street!)
That impulsive decision greatly impacted our young lives and we both wear the scars of the accident to this day. She has a permanent bump on her forehead and I still have the indentation in my leg, which has actually lessened with age and weight loss and gains (who says there aren’t benefits to cellulite!).
While Amy and I can joke about it now, it really was no laughing matter. Amy still remembers the whole terrible incident; I was knocked unconscious. I have always believed I was the lucky one for that.
When I was hit, I flew up into the air and then slid under a parked car. Neighborhood legend has it that a bunch of neighbors came out and literally lifted the car up, so that the paramedics could get me out. I have no recollection of it and my parents told me that when I woke up in the hospital, the first words out of my mouth were, “I’m bored.” I only remember being upset when I learned that they had to cut off my brand new jeans from Winsbergs to get to my leg and that I wouldn’t be wearing any jeans until I was out of traction and the cast – about three months.
After about six weeks in the hospital, I returned home. I had a full body cast and a sweet bedroom in the dining room, complete with t.v.
We also had a new dog named, Rover.
Just as we never mastered “JAAHCKK”, we never quite remembered “Rover”, so our newest addition became known in our Sesame Street-obsessed family as…
GROVER! Grover was a friendly, low-key stray dog and there are a couple of pictures of me leaning on him when I somehow figured out how to stand in the body cast. Because he was more of a wanderer than a family dog, Grover walked right out of our back yard just a couple of short months after we found him. He probably knew that we were settling in and was just looking for another kid who needed someone to lean on…
And speaking of leaning…back to my friend, Amy, and all of my life-long and new-found friends, who I have been leaning on especially over the past few years…
With everything that’s been going on, I’ve been flooded with so many memories, but I also keep thinking about the story/poem, “Footprints in the Sand”. My favorite line is, “…The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you.”
I was about 13 years old the first time I heard that story and remember feeling profoundly moved and hopeful that God would have my back during difficult times. I still believe that, but in my life the story looks more like this…
When I look back at the footprints in the sand, I notice that during the most difficult and darkest times of my life, there have been several sets of foot- (and paw!) prints in the sand. It’s during those times that my friends and family have carried me.
They are the only reason I have the strength to continue choosing grace.