It was a lovely, warm February morning in Los Angeles. I was visiting my eldest, Michelle, and we were off to experience one of our shared favorite past times – hiking. Me in my Nike tennis shoes, and her in her Lululemons, we headed for the Temecula Mountains and carefully traversed the boulder-speckled trail. It was a treacherous and breathtaking three mile uphill climb.
Reaching the pinnacle, I soaked in the majestic view. There, lapping the coastline hundreds of feet below sat the magnificent Pacific Ocean with its foamy blue-green waves rolling in peaceful syncopated rhythm against the shore.
“Come on mom,” Michelle called, reminding me we had miles left to go.
Turning to begin the downward descent, I noticed another one of God’s beautiful creations: A healthy testosterone-filled stud-muffin. As he carefully wove his athletic and shirtless body past me I became overwhelmed by his “hunkiness” and paid no attention to the road ahead. Carelessly, I tripped over a loose rock.
My body went flying like a ragdoll being tossed willy-nilly across the schoolyard. I slowly rolled onto my back in the mid-day heat, stared at the passing clouds and panicked as excruciating pain seared through my body. I had landed on a jagged piece of granite and the point of impact smashed the very hip I had surgery on in 2010.
Lying crumpled in the dirt and rubble, the memory of my previous painful post-op flooded my mind.
“Please, God!” I prayed, hoping He was actually listening. “I don’t have the time or money for another surgery!”
After my hip replacement, I spent months in incredible discomfort. I relied on others for my every need. But the worst torture of all had to be the artistic manipulation of my hair and make-up while on crutches.
Hearing my wounded scream, Michelle immediately ran to my rescue. Looking up into the frightened face of my child, I realized this was no time for trepidation, but one for teaching.
Sucking in a deep breath for composure while feigning braveness, I informed my child, “Honey, there’s a blessing in this. It could have been so much worse.” As she gingerly lifted my damaged body off the ground, I added, “What if it was my head that hit that boulder? I have enough trouble remembering things.”
Step-by-step, hand-in-hand, we carefully descended the mountain and although I was in unbearable agony, we found my blessings to be many that day. With an x-ray, we discovered that my $124,000.00 hip was still in tack. I’d only fractured my pelvis in three places and time would take care of that. During my recovery, I’d have mobility, be able to drive my car and easily take care of all the cosmetics. Talk about a gift!
During this mandatory time-out, I was forced to do something I find extremely difficult – sit still. It was not a fun six weeks, but I’ve always been a believer that in any horrible situation a light can shine. I just need to be open to flipping the switch.
Forced to be motionless, I learned to breathe slowly and reflect on all aspects of my life, including those private demons I keep from surfacing. Those long, quiet days gave me the opportunity to take pause and plan some many long overdue changes that would bring equilibrium to my life.
While I don’t think God needs to push me down another mountain to look inward (I got the hint the first time), I plan to accept future challenges as His way of creating new passages to help bring my mind, body, and soul into harmony. For me, a life that has balance has happiness.