It’s just two years since I had a serious accident. During a sunny summer’s day out, I slipped into a lock from a canal boat on the River Wey near Guildford and broke my arm. More drastically, I had badly damaged the radial nerve which left me with no left hand or finger movement for a good while. It took a lot of skill and knowledge on the part of the medics and particularly the physios to restore things back to some kind of normality.
I rarely think about using my arm and fingers now – mostly it all works OK – and I’ve begun to take it a bit for granted. Sometimes when the air is damp I know it’s still not quite back to rights – not just yet anyway. I can vividly remember the time when I seriously wondered if I’d ever be able to use my arm again properly. It didn’t seem to me that it would be possible and yet my surgeon almost called it to the day in terms of the time that would be required for the healing!
I had a lot of faith in him and, I think, even more in God. I knew that in some way or other, something good would come from this. That something for me may have been to develop a better perspective on life. I was/am guilty of rushing on, always onto the next thing - having a full diary etc. This ‘shock’ taught me to treasure each moment and to reflect with ‘awe’ on the wonder of each minute that we are each given.
This morning, as I thought about the events of two years ago, I picked up Brennan Manning’s ‘Reflection for Ragamuffins’ (SPCK) and read this;
Following surgery for prostate cancer, I walked (catheterized) every morning for an hour through our Old Algiers neighbourhood in New Orleans with a new pair of glasses. One vital aspect of the post-mortem life, it seems, is that everything gets piercingly important. You get stabbed by things, by flowers and babies, by the mighty Mississippi and the inner beauty of your wife, by the loveliness of a plethora of things. And, of course, it all slowly fades …… (p163)
I was captivated by this passage and I experienced those same feelings all over again. I don’t want the joy of living and of being alive, of being able to pick things up and move my arm around to ever ‘slowly fade away’. I remain truly grateful and impressed with the body’s ability to heal itself. It’s all so amazing – the miracle for me is that it seems incredible that any of it works at all! We are truly ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.
And I thank God.