On Fender Benders and Funny Bones

On Saturday, my mother was in a car accident.

A fender-bender, caused by a “distracted driver” who rear ended her Pathfinder in traffic, that occurred at quite possibly the most inconvenient time (as these things always do). I was studying, knee-deep in church history flashcards, Price was on his way out the door to grocery shop, and my dad was marching in graduation ceremonies as part of his seemingly inescapable faculty duties.

So my mom called me. And down we went to Franklin, computer and flashcards in tow for what I was sure would be an eternity spent at the local ER.

Do you know that feeling when you hit your funny bone? When just the slightest hint of a hit sends your whole arm into numbness? It’s a pain that you remember as soon as it happens, because you always swear that it will never happen again.

I walked into triage, not even giving it a second thought besides what an inconvenience it was, and the sight just knocked the breath out of me.

I remember the last time I saw her this way. I was 7 years old, shaking and stunned on the side of the interstate. There had been a loud pop, then we went tumbling down 2 … 3 … 4 times before landing right side up on the broken wheels of our Ford Aerostar. She had fallen asleep at the wheel.

People ask me why I don’t ride roller coasters, or why I have an almost obsessive aversion to loud noises, or why I can’t fall asleep so many nights because I’m so terrified of losing someone I love.

It’s because at age 7, you shouldn’t see your broken mother strapped to a backboard, immobilized in a neck brace, being carted off in an ambulance. You shouldn’t spend the next however many hours throwing up in the corner of a hospital room because you are so scared you don’t know what else to do.

And so when I saw my sweet mother, again immobilized by a neck brace lying in a hospital room, it all came rushing back. Searing. Numbing. Like striking my funny bone in just the wrong way.

My mom was fine this time. She was never really fine after the first time … after her neck and shoulders were as wounded as my fragile seven-year-old heart, and she’s spent the last 17 years bouncing from doctor to doctor to treatment to surgery to despair and depression to another treatment, only to be set back yet again.

I don’t understand why my mother’s body is broken. I don’t understand why my heart is broken, why my marriage is broken, why my world is broken. I don’t understand why the doctors can’t fix her. I don’t understand why God won’t.

If God is really making beautiful things out of our broken bodies and souls, why don’t we get to see the final draft now? And how many more cracks and hits and breaks can we take?

Why does it feel like brokenness is always winning? Why do the days that I win in my life far outnumber the days that God does?

I guess I’m longing for that day when the Gospel wins in an utterly fantastic and triumphant way, and my mom’s broken body and spirit, and my broken body and spirit, and all of our broken bodies and spirits, are fully redeemed.

And I wonder what it looks like to be part of that redemption now? To share that hope with those who hurt. I must admit I’m not very good at that part, but I’m willing to try.

I’m back to this little blog after a long hiatus … school and life just got too fast, too much … but I’m so ready to write again, and to expand the scope of my silly little food blog into something more. We’ll see what it becomes, but for now I’m grateful for a little corner of the sphere that I can call my own, to explore this life with my clunky awkward words in hopes that one day they become more beautiful.

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One thought on “On Fender Benders and Funny Bones

  1. Your words ARE beautiful. And God redeems all. He’s given you this little corner of the sphere, and He is glorified in it. I hear your heart, and I’m so thankful for your authenticity and your willingness to share reality.

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