I was hungry when I finally arrived at home after our longer-than-usual church service. My first inclination was to go inside and fix lunch, but we’d gotten a much-needed shower overnight and I wanted to check the rain gauge. My front walk was still wet, though not terribly slippery. Nonetheless, I was careful as I made my way to the rain gauge and noted its contents. As I was returning it to its place, my neighbors pulled into their driveway so I waved to them as they got out of the car.
And then it happened. As I turned back, I caught the toe of my shoe on the edge of the walk. Before I knew it I was falling – not one of those slow motion kind of falls, but a rapid, slam-into-the-pavement plunge. In the second or two it took to unceremoniously reach the ground, all I could think was “Don’t hit your face!!!” (I’d recently re-read a friend’s account of hitting the floor face-first when he was younger, cracking both front teeth in the process, and was praying I wouldn’t meet a similar fate.) Bam! I came to an abrupt halt, but sprang up just as quickly. I didn’t wait to see if I’d hurt myself, wanting instead to avoid the embarrassment of being seen sprawled out on my front walk by the neighbors I’d cheerfully greeted just moments before.
Within seconds I realized my right hand had taken the brunt of the fall. The edge of the walk opened up a deep gash approximately an inch long in the flesh beneath my thumb. The shock of falling quickly combined with my low blood sugar, making me woozy as I saw the blood seeping out of my palm. I walked unsteadily to my neighbor’s house for assistance bandaging the wound then returned home and lay down. I don’t remember when I finally felt like eating.
The good news: no broken bones (or teeth!) In addition to the gash on my hand there were only some scratches across my nose and a small cut on my upper lip. I can’t imagine how I managed to plummet without sustaining any other injuries – nary a scratch or bruise anywhere else!
The next day I told Joshua about my fall. As I showed him my various injuries, I asked if he’d kiss them and make them better for me like I always do for him. He carefully considered my request then replied, “No Grammie, that’s too many boo-boos.” Later in the week I lifted the bandage on my hand and let him take a peek at the wound. After briefly contemplating the sight, he said, “Don’t worry, Grammie, God will give you new skin to cover up the hole.” And so He has. Slowly, steadily over the weeks since I nearly face-planted on my front walk, the gash has closed and new skin has appeared. Truly we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Several weeks after my fall, Joshua suffered an unpleasant injury of his own. He and June, the family dog, were both interested in a prized turkey feather. When Joshua reached for it June showed her displeasure by nipping him under his left eye. Wincing in pain, Joshua started wailing. When I got to him moments later, there was a trickle of blood on his face. I attempted to remain calm so I could comfort my little buddy, but my anxiety increased as his sobbing continued. Then my phone chimed. Justin, alerted by Mary as to the drama unfolding at home, requested to FaceTime with Joshua. Upon seeing his father’s face, Joshua quieted enough to hear what Justin had to say. In a calm, steady voice he reassured Joshua, reminding him of other times he’d been hurt, how things had subsequently gotten better and that this time would be no different. As Joshua’s tears subsided into intermittent sniffling, tears sprang to my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. In allowing me to witness this affectionate act of reassurance by an earthly father toward his distraught child, God reminded me of His love for me. Justin’s words echoed a message I needed to hear, “You’re hurting, but you’ve been hurt before. Remember, Patsy, it will get better. I’ve never left or forsaken you and I never will.”
Suffering comes in many forms. Some of the most painful injuries aren’t physical ones. Disappointments and losses can pierce our hearts and threaten to crush our spirits. But they don’t have the final say . . .
There’s now a scar at the base of my right thumb. It reminds me of the One whose wounds bring ultimate healing. Who is faithful to all His promises. Who assures His children that a day will come when He’ll wipe away every tear.