Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The Fall

It’s been one month and one week since I fell.

It was a short fall, but an extremely hard hit and it left me with deep cuts and swelling. “There might be areas of your face that just won’t heal the same,” the ER doctor told me.

Darn it, I thought. In my late thirties I was just coming to terms with my face. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was mine and every sunspot or laugh line was earned. I have beat myself up for a month over this simple but impactful fall. How could I be so careless? It’s truly changed my mindset regarding many things, the biggest being how quickly health can change.

Our children didn’t look at me for days. In fact, Cyrus wouldn’t be in the same room with me until day five. That hurt worse than the open wounds. But in defense of the four-year-old, I didn’t like to look in the mirror. On the fifth day he called out for help in the bathroom. It was music to my ears. “Yes! Mommy can help you!” I said from the other side of the door. “I can come in there with you?” I asked permission before entering.

He paused. “Yeah. You can come in…just don’t look at me.” Pretty demanding for a kid who still wears Velcro shoes.  

After day four Caroline, the natural encourager, would give me a daily update on how I looked, as though the stranger squinting back at me in the mirror was lying. “Eww. Nose still looks scary. But I can kind of see one eyeball today, Mom. You’re getting better!” She’s the only child allowed to choose my rest home.

This fall has made me consider grace. Not just grace in a way that if I had more of it, I wouldn’t have these scars on my face today. But showing grace towards a person.

Grace: We’re usually very free to give it. Maybe in our homes with young children, we’ll always clean up their mess. Or with aging parents, we’ll always give them more time to finish a task. Or even new recipes that just didn’t turn out – we make notes along the page to improve it for next time.

Maybe we freely show grace in our careers as teachers, or loan officers, or line supervisors. We value that time as teachable, coachable moments. We extend grace and expect better next time.

Often, we freely extend grace to erroneous cashiers, mixed up waitresses or doctor offices running on their own time. Everyone has a bad day now and then.

We even show grace to the weatherman. He’s wrong fifty percent of the time and we still watch him faithfully every single morning!

We show grace to so many, why is it difficult to extend it to ourselves?

Perhaps your to-do list constantly looms over you, or you’re feeling overwhelmed by the demands of your day-to-day routine. Maybe you’re just sick over how a conversation went, reeling from a failed relationship, or a missed opportunity you can’t let go. Maybe your health has changed, or even your hair color.

Give yourself grace. The same kind of grace you would extend to a stranger.

If they deserve it, why don’t you?

Cyrus captured this photo after the fact, while we packed T-ball treat bags. 
I was strategic. 

A month later, we’ve settled into a new normal which includes a lot of Mederma, doctor appointments, and ball cap wearing.

Last week I tucked the kids into bed and left the room. Cyrus called me back.

“Yeah buddy?” I asked.

“Will we be able to have a birthday party this year?” he asked softly.

“Of course – why wouldn’t you?” I responded.

He put his hand up and motioned in a circle all around his face, referencing the mess I’d made of mine.

“CY-RUUUUSSS….” Caroline groaned as she rolled her eyes. “Just because Mommy hurt her face doesn’t mean we can’t have a birthday. Besides. She’s not as ugly as she used to be.”

See? Grace.