As my head hit the wet ground,a flash of light followed by a searing pain in my ankle were the only indications I had that I was no longer vertical. The three seconds it took me to figure it out seemed more like an hour but as I regained my composure, I realized that I was laying on the ground, like Leonardo di Vinci’s Vitruvian Man ( not naked).. all sprawled out and expressionless. I didn’t move for a moment, evaluating the situation in my mind as the rain drizzled down on my face.
I had taken my children to the gym at the NM military institute and we were on our way to the car to head home to a warm bowl of stew, election results, hot cocoa, oolong tea and a cuddle with Cowboy. We were discussing and laughing and all hopped up on endorphins from the work out I pretended to do and it just happened. In the well-lit walk there was no danger but the groomed grassy knoll next to the sidewalk hid a hole just big enough for the toe of my boot ( who wears cowboy boots to the gym?) and my ankle gave way. It twisted around in such a way that I landed flat on my back like something you would see in an old western as the drunk was thrown into the street through the swinging bar room doors just before he was hauled off to sleep it off in a jail cell. No such luck for me though, I was with my teenagers.
I realized as I lay there on the ground that if I were on fire, the only way I would have been put out is if God Himself allowed enough rain to fall from heaven to put out the flames, because the people I was with, my own children mind you, were more concerned with their reputation than my safety and well-being. There was no ” Oh mom, are you Ok?” or anyone rushing to my side to help me up. Nope, just sheer terror for the eyes that might have seen them with a woman who obviously could no longer walk on her own or at the very least was unable to evaluate a change in the ground level. One disappeared, another stood with her chin fixed to her chest, another could not even bring himself to look at me and the last stood silent for a moment and then began to point and laugh. The look of utter repulsion on my sons face gave me a momentary flash of sadness. I was angry at their cold reactions and their failure to act on my behalf. Hadn’t I raised them better?
But then it dawned on me. I might have been the one on the ground but they were the ones who were embarrassed and mortified. This was funny. I mean really funny. And I began to laugh hysterically. The more I laughed the more color drained from their faces. As I tried to sit up, suddenly I could not get enough help. They were willing to do just about anything to get me up and out of the view of the student paparazzi’s watchful eyes. One was clearing the walk so that I had a straight shot to the car, another was picking up my bag and though in vain, tried to raise me back to my feet. I know my resonating laughter was drawing attention but I could not help the joy that came out of me while looking upon the faces of the very children I had spent so much time teaching about love and grace and kindness. My son’s stoic always cool expression was replaced by the same look one gets when they are hit with a bout of the vapors in church. My other child was still nowhere to be found and the other two just wanted to get away.
I began to realize in that moment that my super powers as a parent went far beyond what I imagined. It was kinda like the first time you eat pop rocks and drink Dr.pepper at the same time. you realize the synergy that attitude and laughter has on the life and direction situations take. So I laughed. I could have yelled, even wanted too because of the heartless reactions, but if I had chosen that, I would have missed the virtual joy that I got from seeing their reaction. I would have missed the giggles in the car ride home. The memory would have been completely different. I wont be recommending them to the volunteer fire department but I will tell you that hearing their version of the story from a joyful point of view is so much fun.
Thank you Lord for that Lesson. It was a joy to learn.
My ankle is throbbing though.