It was a beautiful autumn day. The aspen leaves were a golden yellow and quaking in the breeze that itself teased with just a hint of crispness in the air. Feeling energetic and blessed to live in such a gorgeous place, my son Austin and I grabbed a few necessities for the afternoon and hightailed it out to Helen Hunt Falls in magnificent Cheyenne Canon in Colorado Springs, where we were living at the time. Austin, an energetic eight-year-old at, loved to go "photographering", as he called it, so I made certain the camera was still in the car from our last jaunt out sight-seeing.
He was fit to be tied and acting a little ADD, which inspired me to find a really cool place to take a picture of him to send to his two grandpas, one in Arkansas, the other in New Mexico. Just anything to get him out of the car and use up some of that pent of energy. We pulled into a picnic area just off the road a mile or so into the canon and hopped out of the car. There was a humongous boulder just begging to be used as a chair for Austin's backside and I hoisted him up there with a little motherly advice in my best Southern drawl: "Now, hon....you jest sit right thar and don't hurt yersef." (And thank the Lord above, I have learned to speak differently now.) Austin dutifully promised he would sit still long enough for the click of the camera. It took several minutes to navigate him into a place that looked safe enough for him and less nerve-wracking for me.
Austin in place and surely feeling on top of the world from his vantage point, I looked over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't stepping into a hole or colliding with a tree or anything that nature might throw my way. We were on a big incline, and, being fairly new to the mountains, I was afraid of falling and rolling down some hill or falling off a cliff like Wyle E. Coyote. Not having my own cartoon writer to plan and replan my life I would not have a thousand lives like he does. Austin was doing his part for the cause. A proud moment indeed for any mother of a rambunctious second grader.
That's when it happened. I stepped to the right to get that perfect angle. It was a great shot of Austin. I slipped and slid. The camera went flying over my head. I heard Austin scream, "Mommy, mommy!" Trying my best not to fall on my back I landed on my left side. I couldn't move. Austin's still crying, "Mommy, mommy" and I'm thinking "what to do?" Looking around I saw I had fallen on slid on loose gravel and nothing could have prevented the fall once it began.
"Sit tight," I say, trying my best to remain calm and collected despite the fact that I was a nurse and knew full well something was broken. Somehow or another Austin made his way down from his perch on the boulder, not a small feat as he was about 8 feet up on that thing. He sat down beside me and began to pat my face...on the left side...OUCH! But I didn't stop him...he was soothing me...or so he thought! My heart was touched. My body was screaming!
I finally made it up to a sitting position and began to evaluate my situation. You ask, where were all the tourists or hikers. I asked the same question. They were there, but just moved on down the road. I was really okay with that because I didn't want to have to explain to anyone how to help me to the car. I had had a serious back surgery a few years before and I needed to do this slowly, carefully and prayerfully.
After about 15 minutes, I guess, I knew I had broken my left wrist and possibly some of my fingers when I landed on my hand. My back was all right, but already getting sore and my left leg was already turning purple and blue from the knee to the hip. I was wearing shorts so there was lots of road rash as well. We finally made it to the car and I drove, biting my lower lip, to the nearest emergency room.
Thank God for nursing staff. They kept Austin busy while we both endured hours in the ER. In my next life (although I know it will be in GLORY) I would like to be a doctor. I diagnosed myself well. Fractured wrist down in all those small little bones that make up the moving part of our wrists and fingers. Lots of bruising on the left leg but no breaks or tears or sprains.
My son has loved telling the story of "sit still and don't get hurt". But life doesn't work that way, does it? As long as we are living, breathing, moving beings who belong to Christ, we have a responsibility to be out there in the world making a difference in people's lives...in the name of Jesus. Our example suffered the ultimate hurt. He was crucified in our stead. We will be hurt. We know that. But persevere. We may suffer "slings and arrows", as Mr. Shakespeare said so eloquently. Perhaps not literally but certainly figuratively; however, the end of the story is this: Nothing done for the sake of the cross is in vain. I can't wait for the day when we stand before the Father and hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."