I was going too fast. I was distracted and a little sleepy. I could have used some breakfast, but never mind-today it was out the door at about 6:15 AM. I have never been on a bike that early in the morning (note to self: possibly you are not the early morning biking type:). Things went downhill, both literally and figuratively, pretty quickly. I accidentally squeezed the left-hand brake with too much vigor. If you are a biker, promise me you will be forever careful with that left biking brake. I flew, landing on the concrete road. My arm would never be quite exactly the same.
Neither would my life. A week before this experience I was composing a list of “to do’s.” It was, as they say, “as long as my arm.” (Too soon?:) So much to do! So little interest in doing many of them! Do you know this feeling? I sighed and decided to get busy. I felt had to do these things.
After the accident, there was, of course, lots of healing. I will be back to full functionality. I have some tiny “souvenir appliance parts” tucked neatly and surgically inside my arm. One day, I looked at my renewed working arm and thought, “I have tasks to do, and I am so blessed to be able to do them.” Functional limbs! Who knew the joy? Not me really-until now. Not long after the break-up with my radial bone, I spotted two people out biking together. “Look at you!” I thought, “with your working arms! How fabulous is it that you are using those arms and enjoying your lives! Whatever problems you may have, you get to tackle them with working arms!”
I look at life differently now. I get to do so many things. I can do so many things. My body is helping me do them. I am more grateful for my body than I have ever been before.
I have always been intrigued by the workings of the human body. I was thrilled when our oldest son became a naturopathic doctor-so much to chat about! When I went into the hospital for surgery, even though I was nervous, I was intrigued by the surgical experience. It was fresh and fascinating. The lights overhead were so large. They looked like models of a couple of Star Wars space ships. I laid down on the surgical table and before I hardly knew it, a kind nurse was calling my name-encouraging me to wake up. The surgery was done. I had been on that table for three hours. It felt like three minutes. So interesting.
Another blessing came-maybe it was the best one of all. I knew it had arrived when I met someone else with an injury. Normally, I would have felt sympathy, and offered help. This time I felt empathy and offered my unexpected misty-with-compassion eyes. I literally felt her pain.
Life is filled with things that break us in all kinds of ways, huh? But brokenness can be such a gift. Just as muscle fibers break down, then build-up again even stronger with exercise, we can be broken, then stronger too, in a multitude of ways.
The Lord has encouraged us to bring our brokenness to him.
“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 19). Perhaps that “broken heart” part of mortality is a given. Something, someone, somewhere along the path of life is likely going to leave us feeling broken at some time. But offering that brokenness up to the Lord as a sacrifice? That’s the choice. When we do, great miracles can unfold.
So here’s to broken things: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, etc., and here’s to the rebuilder of the children of the universe. We can be healed. We can be better, stronger.
He can do it, if we let Him.
Mary Joanne Bell is the author of “The Pursuit of Happi-Nest” (release date: February 2022). She is also the host of the podcast Moms Meet World. You can find it on all major streaming platforms.