My husband and I were hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk with the signal on the way home from a meeting at our son’s middle school. We were excited to walk in the cold with the brand new gear we purchased to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in July. Walking together to train had developed into our favorite pursuit.
We don’t remember any of the details of the car hitting us. We had waited for the signal to cross. We even waved cars past when they wanted to let us go. I said, “It’s a $200 fine for jay walking” which is one of my regular comments to pedestrians who break the law. When the cross signal started to blink red, we commented that it wasn’t a very long signal.
Then my husband said something about a car and I looked to the right. That moment is frozen in time. My husband’s right hand was almost touching the hood. I could see the car’s right headlight. Deep down inside me I willed that car not to hit us. I was in denial. I arrogantly refused to let it hurt us. I was not allowing this to happen.
I no longer doubt miracles.
We both woke up face down in the street without our tie-on shoes. I rose out of a black hole void of life or death, pushed up on my arms, saw the stopped car, noticed our shoes, and looked for my husband. He was on the sidewalk after dragging himself out of the street, but he couldn’t get up. His head was bleeding. I used my arms as a pillow in what became the most terrifying moment of my life.
The surge of adrenaline that propelled me to move around and gather our things from the street wore off when the EMTs strapped me into the stretcher under blankets. I looked at the EMT and told her I couldn’t feel my right side. I couldn’t move my right arm.
As the trauma center staff took x-rays and ultrasounds, they kept giving me good news. No broken bones. No internal bleeding. The atmosphere in the ER shifted to one of relief and joking. The doctor stood next to me and explained that I was in good physical shape, then added “your husband is too”. Everyone was searching for an explanation.
In an act of unrequired compassion, a nurse wheeled me into the tiny space next to my husband. I’ll always be grateful. If I stretched my good arm through the bars my fingertips could brush the top of his hand. The connection brought strength and our usual love. I knew he was all right. With neck braces in place, we couldn’t look at each other but we could talk. Eventually the worst trauma scenarios were eliminated. Two friends came to stand by our side, make calls, and take notes.
As emergency personnel came through the trauma center that night, they joked about the hospital cost-cutting because we were in the same space then they realized we were the couple hit by the car. All of them smiled to see us. Usually those calls on the radio ended badly.
We both walked out of the hospital in less than 24 hours.
Perhaps there was no better book I could have finished reading before such a life and death situation than The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, and Belief. Although I don’t accept every premise in Gregg Braden’s books, his idea that you can create your own reality fascinates me.
…all we require is a little shift to see that we’re the architects of our world and our fate, cosmic artists expressing our inner beliefs on the canvas of the universe. If we can remember that we’re the art as well as the artist, then perhaps we can also remember that we’re the seed of the miracle as well as the miracle itself
You must totally and completely believe the reality you desire and accept nothing less. I did in that moment before the car hit.
As this week progressed, the pain completely filled every part of our bodies. New symptoms and injuries continued to become apparent each day. Because of the head and nerve damage we have more specialists to see. Together we work through the post traumatic stress symptoms. Luckily we have the awareness to recognize what’s happening and can talk to someone who completely understands. We sustain each other in all ways including this accident.
One day as we were sitting together my husband told me, “We need to completely believe that we are healed.”
The Divine Matrix agrees:
We must first have the feeling of healing, abundance, peace, and the answers to our prayers of well-being in our hearts as if they’ve already happened before they become the reality of our lives.
I’ve told our story to so many people and everyone agrees it was a miracle. But as Braedon argues, there’s more to us than meets the eye. The single most powerful force in the universe lies within each of us. We have the power to create in the world what we imagine in our beliefs.
“Ask and you shall receive” satiates the Bible but the “Divine Matrix” insists that modern translations should go further:
All things that you ask straightly, directly
From inside my name –
you will be given. So far you haven’t done this.
So ask without hidden motive and
Be surrounded by your answer –
Be enveloped by what you desire, that your gladness be full.
My life with my husband and my sons is the reality I desired. I wasn’t going to let anyone steal it away.
UPDATE: Subsequent x-rays and tests showed fractured bones which were not apparent in the scans at the Trauma Center on the night of the accident.
When we like someone, we accept all their actions and words. “Oh, that’s just the way he or she is.” We forgive them and continue the friendship. However, if we don’t like someone, we look for reasons to hate everything they do and don’t trust their actions or explanations.
In Mark 2: 23-3:6, the scribes and Pharisees are out to get Jesus. It was the Sabbath and they were watching him intently to see if they could add to their list of grievances against him. Jesus healed a man with a withered hand in the synagogue, which constituted the forbidden act of “working” on the Sabbath. Before restoring the man’s hand, Jesus “looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts”.
Is your heart hard? Do you hide behind rules as an excuse to dislike or suppress someone? If we are to love one another, then we would accept others with forgiveness and understanding as if they are our best friends. We would want to help them and meet their needs.
Think about all the people you ignore, don’t like, or even hate. Pray for a way to accept each one. For me, this is the hardest task of all.
For the second year our Christ Episcopal Church has published a Lenten Study. Members volunteer to take one day of scripture and write about it. This is the March 3, 2012 Gospel verse. We picked puzzle pieces with a photo of the church printed on it so we didn’t know what we were getting! I loved the challenge!
Often when I meditate, I have difficulty clearing my mind. Many times in the early morning I give up completely and start my day without meditating for more than a few minutes.
For most of my life I’ve prayed at night before bed, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve committed to praying each morning. The change has made quite a difference to my meditation.
After beginning with a formal prayer, I pray about each person or instance which pops into my mind. Putting all of my thoughts and challenges in God’s hands for the day fills me with peace.
On the first day I prayed, I still had some extra time so I decided to meditate. I was amazed at how easily I could concentrate on my body, breathing, and third eye. I’d released all that was bothering me in prayer and could settle into the quiet, untroubled place of my mediation. I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out this combination!
Praying gives you the freedom to let your mind wander constructively and clears the way for meditation. When I combine my religion with my yoga and meditation, I feel most complete.
After almost 11 years of yoga practice, I’m timidly starting a Personal Revolution to kick off the New Year. Opening myself to new possibilities, I have no way of knowing what will happen.
As a gift for my birthday this month, my husband registered me for a program at Thrive Yoga based on Baron Baptiste’s 40 Days To Personal Revolution book.
For both my pregnancies my husband and I intensely prepared with the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth (that’s another post I need to write!). During my second pregnancy almost 11 years ago, I added a prenatal yoga class and never stopped practicing at home by myself with videos and instruction.
Stepping into an actual studio with people was a big step a few years ago. I have never enjoyed group physical fitness experiences but I found a home at Thrive Yoga, a special and peaceful place which takes you beyond the physical yoga practice. When I first talked to the co-owner Susan, she explained that her husband, Dave, had been in a bad car accident and her sister had died from cancer. When she looked at her life, she knew what was important so they started Thrive. This is a beautiful studio where you can go to handle the stresses from life and center yourself. The workshops and classes are all about a better, complete life.
Since Thrive Yoga already provides a transforming experience, the thought of a more intense study requires me to take an even deeper breath. I’ll admit I’m nervous. A year and a half ago, I talked to Dave about advancing in my yoga practice. Expecting an easy answer about the classes I should take, he suggested the intensive 40-day course. He said most people think they don’t have the time and this was exactly what I was thinking. Then my arm injury prevented me from even considering the possibility.
But here I am.
For six weeks the program works on your health. In addition to at least six yoga practices a week, we’ll meet weekly to talk about our eating habits and daily meditation. That’s body, mind, and spirit.
I need this now.
When I spoke with one of my spiritual advisors recently, he commented that I had said the same thing to him two years ago. He’s right. He was also right when he said I was doing too many things.
I must stand still and listen for a while.
This will mean I cut back on much of what I am doing. I have a painting sketched out on a big white canvas and I’m going to pick up those brushes again. Because I never thought I’d make a salary with my artwork, I discarded it. Truth be told, I’m not making a heck of a lot of money freelancing right now so I might as well be doing what I truly love. So yoga, diet, prayer, painting, and family will be my only priorities as I open myself to come apart. My husband said he can’t imagine a better time for me to do this, and he is right.
Although I am fortunate to have a local program to keep me focused, 40 Days To Personal Revolution provides a complete guide for anyone, anywhere. Even a beginner can follow the instructions for each yoga pose and benefit from the weekly readings.
Now if I can only get “You say you want a revolution” to stop repeating in my head.
May you find what you seek this year.
This post is part of a series on my 40 Days To Personal Revolution journey.
It doesn't have to be all uphill.
The build up to the holidays can be stressful without any extraneous situations. With all my might I tried not to be negative during the week before Christmas, but many forces conspired against me.
- One morning I woke to a flat tire which took the better part of a day for my husband and sons to replace. Two days later the car died in a parking garage. After years of high repair bills, the car and its brand new tires needed to go.
- The DC blizzard brought 20 inches of snow and cancelled school the week before winter break. Mounds formed at the foot of the sledding hill causing my younger son to go airborne and break his collarbone. The week before Christmas was filled with doctor and x-ray appointments.
- My husband and I decided to meet our volunteer commitment for church by directing the Christmas Eve Nativity Pageant. An hour before the service, the kids were receiving their costumes and hadn’t had a rehearsal due to the blizzard.
- The FedEx driver could not find our house and continued to return my older son’s present (his only present) to the distribution center even when the directions were written on the box. As a full week’s time for delivery dwindled down to a few hours, a happy Christmas seemed lost.
- My mother’s beau was having heart pains and she took him to the hospital which resulted in Christmas Eve surgery for five clogged arteries. Everyone worried.
Truth is, the week wasn’t as emotional as it might sound. It was deliberate. Each day required energy and resolve but I discovered some noteworthy lessons.
A bad situation could lead to a dream. As a practical person, I’ve never had a dream car but I’m unexpectedly looking at sports cars. In the first showroom we made a beeline for the Mustang. The salesman took one look at our family and told me everyone else was buying the hybrid SUV. I’m not giving in! I prefer to zip around town in a car, and it’s going to be black and sleek.
Doctors still care and go out of their way for patients. A specialist agreed to see my son’s collarbone before his office opened on Christmas Eve. Lately the health care arguments fill the news and the broader issues tend to overshadow our daily lives. This act of kindness reminded me of how lucky we are to have excellent doctors. Our system needs to insure every person has the same.
The Spirit is more powerful than planning and practice. The kids in the pageant were perfect since they were perfectly themselves. The angels twirled and danced like never before because it came from their hearts. Every child participated in their own special way and the story was told without our interference as only kids could do.
Sometimes you need to go beyond your comfort level to be more persistent with a company when your circumstances do not fit the typical system. FedEx Customer Service took notice but only after many calls. Eventually everyone realized a driver should be able to find a house, even if the location is tricky, so we were given the manager’s cell phone number. The FedEx driver called my husband’s cell phone as we crouched down in front of the pews motioning to the kids in the pageant. Christmas was merry at the very last minute.
Even a serious illness might bring wonderful life changes. My mother’s beau pulled through and although still recovering on Christmas Day, he asked my mother to marry him. After four years together, he had realized what was most important to him in life.
The week before the holidays I continually reminded myself not to be negative and was rewarded for my faith by all of these positive outcomes.
May the New Year bring you all the best in life as you are Trying Not To BNeg.
After church started on Easter Sunday, an Asian man in his 30’s sat down in the pew in front of me. I had the feeling he was homeless but it wasn’t obvious. I handed him my bulletin and showed him where we were. When it came time for the offering, I couldn’t help but watch. I worried because if I was right about him, this could be an uncomfortable situation. He opened his wallet and all I could see was a coupon and two dollars. He pulled out the two dollars and put them in the offering plate.
We all know about the parable of the woman giving her small amount in the temple showing far more love than the rich man who gave a larger amount but a smaller fraction of his wealth. I had witnessed the real thing. While I thought selfish thoughts on his behalf, he emptied his wallet.
So today I sit here thinking I would never give away all our money. Who would empty out their mutual funds, retirement plans, savings accounts and stocks? I wouldn’t, not in a million years. Where does this leave me?
When my husband and I were young starting out, we had very little. I knew in the back of my head we were “safe” from this parable lesson. The day I married my husband he was ABD without the dissertation started and had no income. He didn’t even have a car because he had to junk it on the way to the university one morning. Meanwhile, I was working at a local nonprofit. We had nothing but our love and my large inherited real estate debt.
I learned real estate, bought and sold property, then refinanced our current house seven years ago when the interest rates hit rock bottom. One day I told my husband we had earned what we had. He was quick to point out that it was all a gift from God. He was right.
The homeless man reminded me of my wealth.
All the gifts in our lives are precious. Sometimes I think I squander love and friendship much more than money. We can lose everything we love very quickly.
While adding up the terrible investment losses from last year, I thought about everything I could have done with the money to help others and fulfill our dreams. Now I’m reminded it’s never too late to start.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been hanging onto it after all.
Scaffolding rose up toward the ceiling where the altar usually stands at the front of the church. Even though this was a special day for my son to celebrate Communion, we were not going to be kneeling at our familiar altar. Nothing was usual.
When I first heard the stained glass window was to be re-installed and the church would be in disarray, all I could think was “bad planning”. In my life, both personally and professionally, I plan everything. Schedules, timetables, and details are paramount.
But I think God had a strong message for me today.
The makeshift altar and distribution held the same promise. This Christian family meal provided the same joy of celebration with the millions of Christians who have lived or will live around the world. Life can’t be typical with so many people in the chaotic throws of life. You can’t plan everything with thoughts and power crashing in all directions.
When I became pregnant with my first son, a colleague told me having a child would be good for me because I would have to learn to let go. Everything would not go exactly as I expected. For the past dozen years, her words were a daily invitation to put each instance in perspective. I have changed.
Today’s free-wheeling service took my thoughts a step further and made me appreciate the unexpected, embrace the uncontrollable unknown. After all, earthly objects are immaterial.
A couple of weeks ago, our seminarian preached about his first time in our church. Our minister told him how he loved the stained glass window of the Ascension. As Jesus rises, the disciples are all standing around with expressions on their faces which seem to ask “Where are you going and what are we supposed to do?”
I ask myself the same thing everyday.
Today I realized I’m supposed to take Communion even when there’s no altar and be glad while I do it. After I am fed, I’m responsible for feeding, or looking after, others.
In life we often have to succeed with a failed plan. We will, by letting go of our perceived failure and finding joy in the situation.