I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Psalm 30:1-3 (NIV)
Seven years ago today, this is the belated Christmas present I received. It was a little like coal in my stocking only worse. Just like that coal, I deserved it though. I made some stupid decisions with my horse and my mistakes earned me this collar. You see, a week before Christmas, I was riding alone, at supper time and my horse decided he was hungry and it was time to go back to the barn. Only there was a fence between us and the barn. When he hit it at a full gallop, I fell off tearing the ligaments in my shoulder and breaking my cheekbone. Everyone told me I needed to get right back on. Despite being incapacitated from my injuries, I chose New Year’s Eve to once again ride alone. Thinking I was safe in the small corral at the barn, I didn’t anticipate having no strength to hold on. He was standing still when I slid right off over his head landing on mine. I remember saying aloud as I fell, “Nooo, not again.” I got up, unsaddled him, put my tack away and let him out to pasture. I walked the two blocks back home with the muscles between my shoulder blades screaming. The pain felt like someone was wringing out my back. The doctors’ office said “Come right in, we close at Noon.” By that time, I couldn’t drive so my dad took me. I remember the commotion outside the exam room door as the doctor viewed the x-rays and immediately called for an ambulance. I cried that I didn’t want to go to the hospital and the doctor got right in my face and said, “Your neck is broken, you could be paralyzed, don’t move.” That made me cry more. After five hours in the emergency room and many tests, I was prepped for surgery and waiting for an operating room when change of shift arrived and the new surgeon decided maybe I didn’t need surgery after all. If, and it was a big if, I would wear the cervical collar and stay in bed for at least three weeks, maybe more until my neck healed. On New Year’s Eve night, I was discharged and went home in the pouring rain wearing only a hospital gown because they had cut my clothes off at the hospital. I learned a lot in those three weeks. I will never doubt how much my husband loves me after he washed my hair, kept the house and talked me out of selling “that d*&^% horse” (his words) that started it all. I learned how much my church family loved me for they provided meals for three weeks and came and sat with me when I was lonely. Most of all, I learned that the people who told me I needed to get right back on my horse didn’t tell the whole truth. Yes, you should keep trying, but sometimes, you need to give yourself time to heal first. If 2009 has been a year of pain for you, don’t give up. But, cut yourself some slack and remember it takes time to be strong again. Sometimes, mostly when I overdo, I still have burning pain at the area of my injury to remind me of my New Year’s Eve miracle. Yet, I’m still riding and loving it. I went today as a matter of fact and couldn’t help but celebrate how far, with time and training, Trucker and I have come. Things will get better for you, too. God loves you and is in control. Thanks be to God. Here’s to 2010 and the blessings it will hold.