Marla and I received a stern reminder of the old saw "If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans" Saturday evening I was off doing some volunteer work and rode my motorcycle home arriving around 8:20 with smoked ribs on my mind. No Marla in the house -- figured she was on the deck, but when I exited the sliding back door I heard her screaming like I've never heard her before.
I rounded the corner next to the firepit and there she was laying face down with her chin on the second small set of steps, her legs out and her arms crumpled beneath her. "I can't move, I've been here quite awhile, nobody could hear me".
Dialing 9-11 seemed to be in slow motion, making SURE they knew about MANOR COURT NORTH WEST vs just "Manor Court", seemed like running through molasses in January. I'm guessing it was 10 min before they arrived, but it seemed like an hour or more -- I heard sirens almost immediately, my bad hearing amplified by nerves had me thinking that they were pulling up when they were crossing the bridge on 52 a mile away.
We both knew that I couldn't move her -- no feeling in her extremities, but feeling on her back. Lots of blood, but I knew not a life threatening amount. Since the front of her skull was directly against a concrete step, I wondered if the paralysis was due to brain injury rather than spinal, but she was conscious and completely cogent, so it was hard for my addled brain to make sense of it.
The EMTs and firetrucks arrived, she was loaded up and we headed for St Mary's level 1 trauma center where a team of 15+ masked and gowned specialists received her and I was ushered to a waiting room to wait for the first support to arrive. My brain was flooded with fear of still sudden death due to some bleed inside the brain, would we sell the house to deal with her being a quadriplegic? I needed to get rid of those motorcycles! Too risky! Why wasn't I at home??? !!!
Five days later, my brain still has some of those thoughts, even though the belief is that her prognosis is excellent. When she hit the step with her chin she hyper-extended her neck backward ("whiplash"), fortunately "bruising" or "compressing" rather than tearing or severing her spinal cord. She was startled by an old firework in a supposedly spent cake that she used to start a fire in our fire-pit going off and "just tripped" as she ran. Had the cord been bruised a bit more, her ability to breathe would have been suspended and she would have died -- as she would have if it had been severed at that level of the spine.
She underwent spinal column surgery last Sunday for 5 hours to make more room for the spinal cord and to fuse the vertebrae to better protect this area that was weak from childhood. She has had one of us with her in ICU since she was admitted since she is unable to push the nurse button. She now DOES have feeling in her hands and feet, major muscle movement on both sides, good toe movement on the left, SOME on the right, a little finger movement on the left, and a TINY bit on the right.
Recovery is likely to be very long. She got out of the ICU yesterday and "3 weeks" is considered an optimistic estimate for when she might be able to come home. Getting back to typing and other skills with her fingers is nearly certainly farther off than that.
She sold her Harley 3 weeks ago because it as too risky -- she nearly died on our patio next to our pond, a spot that I use in my mind as my "happy place"... a "safe and calming place" to deal with anxiety. This universe is not ours -- human control and power are ALWAYS illusions. Either Trump or Hillary could trip walking down some steps, break their neck, and be gone in a few minutes -- or stroke, heart attack, car crash, plane crash -- the list is completely endless. Worse, any of us, or those we love could do the same. We don't make those decisions.
Do I literally think God might "laugh"? Sort of. God knows how mundane all of what happens in the mortal coil other than coming to Gods Grace and redemption through Christ is. We are also created in his image, so we know that he has something like "humor".
I personally think our consciousness is traveling but one of MANY timelines, only one of which we "see" in what seems like the single path of this mortal life. Since it was a "freak accident", maybe on nearly all of the paths, it never happened, or there was a much lesser injury, etc.. On some smaller set of even smaller paths, she died and I'm going to her funeral today or before the end of the week. Perhaps on "1" or a really tiny number, I died in a motorcycle crash on the way home and she is heading on with her recovery without me, or on another, the world is heading on without either of us because I died in a motorcycle accident the same night she stopped breathing due to a spinal injury. "What are the odds of that?" ... well, what are the odds we ever met at all?
In that case, no doubt a number of people on that timeline would be crying at our funerals (more for her than for me), but Marla and I would know the truth and understand that eternity is all that matters, and whatever the worst that life gives you is, next to eternity and THE TRUTH (Christ), the worst this world has to dish out is much less than the medical profession bills as "just a little bee sting" or "you will feel some pressure now" ...
I believe we have FAR LESS than "no idea" on these things -- "free will", "predestination", the power of the creator of the universe, etc. "Far less" means that all of our ideas about "fate", "God's will", "Why do bad things happen to good people", etc. are likely so wrong as to make the worst description of a Saturn IV Moon Rocket internal operations by a tribesman in the bush somewhere seem like revealed genius by comparison. Just pause and consider the difference in knowledge scale between "all knowing" and any of our pitiful brains, even rolled into one!
I don't believe that God "wills" such things as happened to Marla, but he allows "free will" in the universe, which I see as a combinatorial explosion of uncountable pathways of "if". God is with us on all those paths, always seeking to save us -- he indeed knows all (since all the paths have happened, are happening, and always will happen) but we don't.
He DOES have a plan and it WILL be accomplished -- maybe even on "all the paths" for all I know, but like a parent letting a child learn to walk, he allows us to "go bump" in many many ways, even go through our "terrible twos" where everything must be OUR way!!! No matter how foolish and ridiculous that way is! Some of our "bumps", like Marla's, are just part of being a human living in a physical world marred by sin. It's like hauling 50 million gallons of shit in a fall pumping season -- maybe NONE of the 50 million is your shit, but you are still quite likely to "get some on you".
Of course, none of this dime store rambling "philosophy" or "theology", or more colloquially put "bullshit" means anything while waiting for the ambulance, or sitting with her at night while she is in pain, or watching her struggle to get her toes and fingers to move. Those are the moments that are what is "real" in the human physical sense that is what we call "life". We see through a lens VERY darkly, but we have faith that it all really does mean something SOMEHOW!
Sometimes the soul just cries out with feelings that are not expressible. She is a few feet away sleeping peacefully, THAT is a blessing beyond compare. Our boys, daughter in law and grandaughter visited us and are now home safely -- that is another blessing! Our Iowa family has rushed to our side and continues to. Our Rochester friends have already driven people to the cities multiple times, delivered food, visited, and are making themselves available. Our pastor brought us Communion in the ICU ... I could keep going on, but won't.
We like to kid ourselves that we have plans and control, but we don't . Life is learning to accept God's plan for our lives with the help of his Grace. It is ultimately a WONDERFUL plan, no matter how we might feel about it at a given point -- our goal is to accept that plan and accept that it is in fact God's plan and therefore wonderful. "Accepting" doesn't mean sitting back and saying "whatever" -- it means hard work, which Marla is FAR better than me, so has the best chance of recovering as far as is possible.
So please pray for us. It is always fine to pray for speedy 100% recovery. God knows that is very much what we want, especially for a specially loved person that constantly does everything for everyone else like Marla. But also pray that we can accept and find joy in God's will and plan in HIS time -- because ultimately, that is the only plan that counts, no matter how hard that plan may be. I am just so thankful beyond words that I'm still living on a path WITH Marla ... "just" seeing her smile when Tula arrived is a gift beyond price.
Thanks to all who are praying, helping and caring -- perhaps that is "the reason" at some level.
It's Gods Plan, and God is Good -- ALL THE TIME!