For those of you who haven't heard already, I had my first major biking accident since high school yesterday evening. I'll be honest - I don't remember a lot of it. But for those who have asked, here's what I can remember:
I was biking pretty fast down a trail somewhere close to my neighborhood; it was starting to rain, and I wanted to get home without getting drenched. I remember braking, and registering in a split second that either my back brakes hadn't locked, or I'd not hit them hard enough, but my front tire locked just as I hit a patch of dirt and gravel, and I went flying over my handlebars.
I don't really remember much after that. I don't remember hitting the ground, or anything of the accident. I do remember sitting up and looking around, and realizing that I had absolutely no idea where I was or how to get home. I didn't have my cell phone - I'd left it at home because rain was a possibility. That was probably the scariest moment of the entire thing - being that disoriented and not having a way to get help - other than to pray.
The next thing I remember is sitting on the floor in a house I didn't recognize. I'm told that I wandered into a nearby neighborhood, and knocked on some guy's door to ask for help. (He looked the slightest bit like Santa.) I remember a few things vaguely - trying to convince him that I was fine and just needed a ride home and could he call someone for me. He was nice about it, but he called for an ambulance anyway. I remember a police officer showing up and asking a lot of questions. The paramedics taking me to the hospital. Lots of lights. Telling the paramedics that my friends call me Happy. "I can see why," one of them said. So at least somewhere in the midst of everything, I was still being myself. ;)
I remember a series of nurses, and an incredibly kind doctor. A CAT scan, X-rays, a steady flow of Torchers who'd heard and shown up and come to make sure I knew I wasn't in this alone. (You guys are amazing, by the way. I know how frightful I look, and I'm sure it was even worse last night before they'd cleaned me up and I still had gravel in my face... Thanks for not freaking out. Tho it would have been fine if you had! I would have completely understood.) I also remember one of my nurses, asking if I wanted more visitors, and making a comment that made me ask - are you a Christian? She was. She actually goes to the Chapel. (Small world.) :)
There may have been a rumor circulating in the ER lobby amongst my friends at one point that what actually happened was that I got in a bar fight and threw a bicycle at someone. We won't say who started that one. It was pretty funny tho. And the first in a long line of comments and conversations that made me laugh and helped keep me positive through one of the longest nights of my life. I'm not going to lie. My face hurts. My shoulder and a bunch of other random scrapes and a broken finger hurt, too, but mostly my face hurts. I do look like I've been in a brawl - and a cat-fight. With a literal cat. But the company of some of the people I love best in the world and their dedication to not letting me be alone long enough to start feeling sorry for myself was an incredible gift.
So thank you - to those of you who were there, or who heard and started praying. The number of texts and messages and calls I've gotten today are simply evidence that I have some pretty amazing friends. I am blessed beyond measure to have all of you in my life. My road to recovery is going to be a little on the long side, but I will be okay. If I've come to any conclusions (I'm sorry, Arman, but I had to use the word, I just had to...lol) it's that stopping your trajectory with your face after pitching off your bicycle is a really dumb idea. I'm probably going to have evidence of that staring back at me every time I look in a mirror for the rest of my life.
But you know what? I'm alive. And I encountered kindness at the hands of complete strangers and witnessed the depth of the love that some of the people I care about most in the world have for me. I have an excuse to eat an entire gallon of ice cream this week and take naps. And there wasn't a moment in that entire situation that God didn't know about beforehand. I could wish it hadn't happened, I could waste time thinking about all the things I could have done differently, but it did happen and there's nothing to be done. All that's left is what is - and what's next. And how I handle it matters.
I stood in front of our church yesterday and said that there wasn't a situation in life that we could possibly go thru with which Jesus couldn't empathize, and that sometimes humility looks like saying, "I can't do this myself; I need help." And there I was, eight hours later, in a position where I couldn't possibly say anything else. And I'm so grateful that while 1/2 of the evening is a blur (and I apparently said and did some things I don't remember), I can say with confidence that I didn't lose sight of Whose I am. I remembered to thank people for their kindness and to smile and be patient and crack jokes. And I let people take care of me. (This doesn't happen often. It's usually very much the other way around. Because I am "tough" and independent and well, let's just call it prideful enough to think that I don't really need anyone to take care of me.)
So pride goeth before a fall and all that... sometimes literally, I guess.
And today? Today I'm learning to live with the reality that my face is just going to hurt for awhile, remembering that being alive at all is truly a gift, and trusting (albeit imperfectly) in God's sovereignty I'm also just humbled and honored beyond belief by the love and kindness I've encountered in the past 28 hours.
Thanks, friends. You truly are the hands and feet of Christ.