It was a year ago this October when I fell onto our fireplace hearth while pole-vaulting in my living room. (When you fall big, you need a big reason for the fall; tripping over a heating pad cord does not meet that criterion.) I broke two bones in my right arm, cracked three ribs on my right side, and sustained some facial lacerations.
I have condensed this part of the story to better focus on how God became “my refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble” throughout the rest of the story.
I was in trouble! As I was falling, I peripherally saw a service truck pulling into my driveway and remembered that a repairman was coming “sometime” that day to fix my washing machine. After that, I landed on the very rough and unyielding brick hearth of our fireplace. The scratching, bruising, and breaking of various body parts was excruciatingly painful. Knowing at the same time that I had to get help, I prayed, “Jesus, please help me!”
How would I get myself to the foyer door to unlock it and let the repairman inside to hopefully help me? I began to slowly move the damaged side of my body with my unbroken left arm to avoid causing out-of-control pain. Inch by inch of pushing, pulling, and lifting my right side with my “good” arm, I slowly slid myself down from the hearth onto the floor.
Thanking God for getting me this far while keeping the pain under control, I began to drag myself towards the door with my unbroken arm. Drag, rest, drag, rest, very slowly until I reached the door! Using my left arm, I pushed myself up to my knees, and pulled myself up onto the sitting bench next to the door. From there I could reach the door handle and unlock it! Hallelujah!
After walking to the foyer door, the repairman rang the doorbell and walked into the house when I called, “Come in.” He introduced himself as Dave, and said, “I’m here to repair your washing machine.” I mentioned to him that I had just fallen on the hearth. He saw me holding my limp arm and my disheveled appearance and immediately asked these precious words, “What can I do to help you?” (Thank you, Jesus, I thought!)
He proceeded to get an Ace wrap out of my first aid kit that I had asked for and brought it to me. I made a temporary splint using the wrap and a nearby book to immobilize my broken arm. Wanting to notify my husband of my injury, I asked Dave if he would get my cell phone from the table. Very willingly, he got my phone and brought it to me. He held the phone steady as I hit the numbers to reach Walt. For some reason, my hand was shaking just a bit.
Learning from Walt that he could not get home right away because he was driving students to their homes, Dave immediately offered to drive me to the hospital. (Okay, this is a little too good to be true. Really? Does his employer approve of employees driving people to the hospital on company time?)
I didn’t ponder that question for long. Knowing that if I needed surgery, I would have to go to a hospital emergency room, I gratefully accepted his offer. He helped me into his truck and drove me to the hospital. I didn’t do much, I just sat in my seat trying to hold my arm still and thought about getting pain-relief medication at the ER.
When we arrived at the hospital, the ER staff transferred me onto a stretcher and brought me into an examining room. After the doctor read the x rays of my arm and ribs, he gave me the choice of surgery or of manually realigning the bones back to their proper position while taking medication that would deaden the pain. Since I was pretty okay with “deadening the pain,” I chose the latter.
The re-alignment went well. By God’s healing powers, three months of wearing a cast follo
wed by eight months of physical therapy, I have regained 90% range of motion back in my once broken arm!
I realize that in the scheme of things, my accident ranks quite low on the Richter scale of life’s threatening injuries, illnesses, or diseases. However, what did top the scale was God’s providence for me!
I ask myself, “How did the repairman unknowingly arrive just at the moment I was falling?” “How did I get the strength to lower myself off the hearth and drag myself to the door to open it?” “What about Dave? What made him so Christ-like in going above and beyond by showing God’s mercy and compassion to a stranger?” (I doubt that was in his job description.)
All questions aside, I feel blessed to have experienced God’s love in so many different ways throughout this experience. I thank and praise Him for his providential care for me, not only in “the time of trouble,” but always.
-by Isla VanWyngarden