Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12 (NIV)
In this blog post, I’m going describe the lessons God showed me in the middle of a mini trauma I experienced a couple of weeks ago. He has shown up countless times in the 25 years since I had my traumatic brain injury. I see Him in the faces and hands of family, friends and total strangers who step up to help me. So you might say I was kind of expecting it.
Lesson 1: Life is fragile. It can change without warning.
After my TBI, I of all people should know this. Perhaps the Lord was giving me a little reminder.
I rode my bike over to my hair stylist for a cut one morning. My balance will not allow me to ride a regular bicycle, so I ride an adult-size tricycle (trike). I was being extra-careful as I exited the shopping center because of uneven pavement. I wasn’t pedaling, but slowly gliding over the uneven terrain. When my wheels rolled over it, down I went!
My bike is very stable, so when it falls over on its side, it does it in slow motion. I hit with my helmet first…then rolled to my unprotected face. Ouch! My lack of balance would not allow me to correct the falling bike. I sat there for a minute trying to regroup.
Lesson 2: Despite the evil in our world, others want to be kind and helpful.
A kind lady who was just parking her car asked if she could help me up. We got me…and the bike up. As I pedaled the mile ½ home, I could feel that I had scraped my face, but hadn’t seen it yet.
Lesson 3: Lean on loved ones who’ve been there for you throughout life.
I didn’t think it looked too bad, but immediately sent a text picture to John…my brother and primary care doctor. He told me to clean my face with alcohol, Neosporin the scrape on my eye and keep ice on my face for 24 hours. He also told me it would get worse before it got better. Boy, he was not kidding!
I inundated John, my sister Julie and my son Andrew with text pictures as the swelling & bruising continued. I won’t disturb you with the images! After waking from a nap, I caught an image of my face in the mirror. I freaked out! Please Lord! Help me find the good You’re showing me in this!
I wished my mom was still alive to tell me how terrible my face looked and listen to the whole sordid story. Instead my dad called to hear the same story. Sometimes that’s all we need to feel better is someone to listen to us!
Lesson 4: Do not be afraid to live your life.
Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
I love riding my bike to my hair stylist through all the picturesque upper Highlands neighborhoods. My first thought was “Better call Uber from now on.” When I was calmer, I decided to keep riding my bike, but get off and walk it over the uneven pavement. I could hold onto the bike like a rolling walker. Now that was something I was used to!
My hair Stylist swears by Arnaca cream, a topical pain reliever to stop bruising. It was drizzling outside and I was scared to get back on the bike again…but improving the appearance of my face took precedence over my fear. So I rode up to the health food store with my mind repeating “Do not be afraid, for I am with you” over and over again. So my journey was most surely covered in prayer!
Lesson 5: Lean into God. He will show you what to do.
I cancelled my early morning class for fear of what my face would look like. My brother Andrew encouraged me NOT to cancel my afternoon class if I truly did feel as fine as I said I did. “Who cares what your face looks like? Show them how courageous you are!” I felt so much better after the class workout! And no one was put off by how my face looked. I was able to make their muscles burn, bruises, or no bruises!
I’m so glad I didn’t cancel the class. I was reminded again of how much I love coaching others. I forgot all about my face while teaching!
Lesson 6: Always find the humor in tough situations.
I received a text from my sister Julie asking for a picture of my improvement three days after my mishap. I sent her what I thought was pretty good evidence of my improvement. Her return text read…Still looks pretty brutal…and painful! I replied that I had no pain at all unless I pushed on it. Her reply was…
Cut me Mick! Cut me!
I immediately thought…If Rocky Balboa could endure the swelling, then so can I!
Lesson 7: Especially in affliction, you are never alone.
I’ve been able to live on my own for over 10 years now. My days are active enough that I really enjoy the quiet when I get home. On holidays and special occasions I feel driven to be with others though. This was one of those special occasions!
Once I got over the initial trauma of my bike spill, I just felt lonely and stupid for letting it happen in the first place. I knew uneven pavement was dangerous, but I did it anyway!
Ever since my TBI though, I’ve never felt truly alone. I feel like Jesus is right there with me all the time. Sometimes I can actually feel Him.
That’s the comfort I think we can all hang onto when we go through hard times. So next time we have a ‘bad face day’, cling to the One who will listen compassionately and help us to learn and keep moving forward.
The Lord DID bring something good out of my affliction. He gave me a new topic for my blog!
Life happens to all of us…. The good AND the bad!
Sometimes we have to learn the lessons the hard way. You sure had me leaning into You during this ‘mini trauma’. Please remind us to do that especially during our difficult times.
Instead of focusing only on the current challenge, help us to see the lessons You’re trying to teach us through them.
Thank You for reminding us that You always love us…sometimes in spite of what’s happening in our life.
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