What do you take for granted?
Toes have topped the list for me for the past year.
That’s because last summer around this time, I was missing the use of one. Ramming it into a chair leg at warp speed will do that to a baby toe. For two days after this painful and unfortunate event, I watched what was once a toe the size of a cashew morph into a larger, purplish version of its former self. My cashew toe had become a Brazil nut. A week later, I was still hobbling around on nine toes instead of ten so I taped it to the toe next door for a week to see if it would rally and start pulling its weight. Next, I tried the tough love approach by making it do the job alone and that only caused it to throb and complain bitterly. I iced it and soaked it in hot water and said nice, encouraging things to it. Well, not very nice things, actually. And I hobbled and bobbled my way through the rest of the summer.
Finally, in September I saw a doctor and had an x-ray. The verdict? Broken in not one, but two places. No WONDER I’d been so miserable! The doctor pointed out the break on the x-ray and compared it to a stick that has been broken and twisted. The good news, by that time, was that my body was healing itself by growing new bone. By Christmas, I was back on all ten toes, good as new. Then, a month ago while I was minding my business and walking down a carpeted hallway barefoot, I somehow twisted the ankle attached to the foot that is attached to the bum toe. Bummer, huh?
Who knew that a toe could cause so much trouble for one middle-aged woman?
The Great Toe Injury of 2012 was just one of many not-so-great things that were happening last summer, as I recall. Severe storms ravaged the area the week of July 4th and acres of trees were flattened. The hometown where I was born and raised saw giant trees uprooted and homes damaged beyond repair. Power outages lasted for days. Luckily, blessedly, this summer has been calm by comparison here in the North Land.
There have been other sorts of storms, too. In our extended family, there was the loss of a dear pet for one sibling, a near-death experience for one parent and a broken hip and long rehabilitation for the other one. But this summer, there is a new pup named Otis happily rolling in dead fish at the resort and thankfully, no recent hospital visits for anyone. It was a year that tested the limits of familial patience, sibling relationships, and physical and emotional stamina in ways we’ve rarely been tested. Illnesses will do that.
It is easy, when the skies are blue, to take sunshine for granted. What I learned during the year of broken toes and lost pups and too many hospital waiting rooms is that it is prudent, always, to slow down. We need to listen and look where we’re going because it’s pretty easy to wallow in disappointment and pain when the going gets painful and the skies darken. It is tempting to find the first flying monkey, grab it by the scruff of the neck and give it a good kick where the sun doesn’t shine but really, what good is a monkey with a sore bottom in the middle of a crisis? The twisters roar through, monkeys or not. If we are wise and patient and brave, the storms will pass.
And if we are lucky, we see the rainbow.