She’s Ok, or Is She?
“Don’t fall!” I heard my sister-in-law, Loretta, scream as I flew over the rose brambles and hit the ground with a thud.
How much time had passed since my rollerblades hit the rut in the asphalt and I’d started my hasty descent into the ditch? One second, maybe two, yet it would take several sentences to adequately describe what happened in that brief space of time.
When the crack in the path caught my skate and jerked me off balance, I’d decided not to fall on the pavement and pointed my body towards the side of the path. Quickly I realized a fall here would mean an afternoon of picking gravel out of my skin; but the ditch, it was full of tall, soft grass – the perfect landing pad. Once headed for the ditch, changing course was no longer an option. That’s when I saw the wall of roses with the base of thick thorny stalks. With the words, “Don’t fall” ringing in my ears, my legs pushed through a few giant steps and then launched into the leap of a lifetime. Adrenaline coursed through my veins as I slid forward on wrist braces and knee pads and came to a sliding stop.
To my amazement, the only pain I felt was in my index finger where one rose thorn had pierced through the skin. “I’m ok,” I shouted to Loretta, “just one little poke on my finger.” As I rolled over I noticed blood spurting from my leg. “Oh and a scratch on my leg, but I’m ok, really!”
“She’s ok.” Loretta yelled as she motioned the startled by-passers on their way.
I crawled out of the ditch and stood shakily on my skates. “You seem to have blood running down the fronts and backs of both legs,” Loretta observed, “and you have a berry stuck to your forehead….oh, nope, it’s blood too.”
Doubled over with laughter, the two of us could hardly contain ourselves. What an adventure!
“Were you trying to clear the rose bush?” Loretta asked, “Because the way you flew through the air, it was amazing.”
I was laughing so hard I could hardly gasp out a response.
The real pain started the next day. Every movement caused me to ache. The superficial scratches were a mere hint of what lay underneath. The muscles in my forearms, shoulders and chest were a constant reminder of the crash. Because the scratches on my legs were easily covered under a pair of jeans and parting my hair on the other side hid the scratch on my forehead, nobody could tell from looking at me that I’d been hurt.
A couple days later I walked through a Safeway parking lot shifting a bag of groceries from one stiff arm to the other. As I passed other shoppers I wondered, How many people pass by us daily and everything looks fine on the outside, but inside their hurt is a throbbing ache too painful to describe? Maybe they don’t want to share the trauma in their lives or couldn’t even if they wanted to reveal it.
My muscles have stopped aching, and the scratches are almost healed, but the lesson remains. Be a little kinder, a little gentler, and a little more sympathetic to the people around you. You don’t know what battles may rage within. Your one compassionate word may be the key to opening a locked heart to God’s light.
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV