I have always been told I am hard-headed. Now I have everlasting proof.
On New Year’s Eve I was at our church helping get dinner ready for about four dozen people who were going to stay after a worship service to see in the New Year together. I was late getting to the sanctuary to play piano for hymn singing and was hurrying in the dark between buildings. In my rush, I took a misstep off the edge of the sidewalk. That launched me forward, and helpless to stop the momentum, I ended up crashing right into the concrete steps leading up to the front door of the church. Ow.
I cracked my forehead a good one. I crumpled up on the ground for a moment, waiting to pass out, and when I didn’t, I reached up to feel my head. The dent was impressive, and starting to bleed profusely. The look on the faces of my friends who came to assist me told me how bad it must have looked.
I had an impending sense of "This is definitely not good” and my second thought was "I guess I would probably bleed all over the piano keys" and then my third thought was "the Emergency Room doctors are going to think I was falling down drunk on New Year's Eve."
No, stone cold sober, but just incredibly klutzy. It doesn't take being under the influence to do something this stupid, unless the "influence" is congenital awkwardness.
My forehead was packed in ice, and my husband took me to the hospital where I was assured by the doctor that it did not appear I broke anything more than skin, muscle and my pride. The ER nursing staff teased that a dutiful church lady was sporting "one of the deepest forehead ‘lacs’ they’d seen on New Year's Eve". The on-call plastic surgeon was concerned that the resulting scar from the suture repair would tighten up only one side of my middle aged forehead, and recommended I consider a symmetrical forehead “tuck” on the other side to even things out. No thanks. I just wanted to stop the bleeding and get back to church. I had work to do and a meal to clean up.
After fussing over the wound for over an hour bringing things together with countless stitches, he told me to avoid raising my eyebrows or furrowing my brow to prevent undue tension on the repair. Simply telling me not to do it made me aware I do both all the time.
I did go back to church, my head wrapped like a mummy, to help clean up and see in the New Year. Everyone told me to go home. I think more than one person commented on how hard my head must be, and my coming back to church that night only proved it.
That night, the headache was memorable and became more memorable any time I tried to stand, walk and especially because I constantly furrowed my brow. Ow again.
I thought the evening couldn’t get more eventful, but after midnight, my husband and two out of three of our kids woke up with vomiting and diarrhea during the night. They had to pretty much manage things themselves. I was sitting in the recliner, icebag on my head, trying to discern which of us was moaning the loudest. There were plenty of Ows to go around that night. My greatest fear—that I’d catch the stomach bug as well and probably never survive it because of how much my hard head hurt—didn’t happen.
In retrospect, a knock on the head was just what I needed at that moment. Life was speeding along in too big a hurry and so was I. That trip and fall meant a mandatory slow down. Due to the bruising, my face swelled and my eyelids closed up for several days. I was frightening to behold, so pretty much stayed behind closed doors. As I was incapable of doing much other than sit and heal, I spent overdue time in quiet reflection and prayer.
I had been grounded by God, hard head and all.
If I ever need a reminder that I’m hurrying through life, which is still too often, I simply lift my bangs off my forehead and take a really good look at the scar.
It will be with me always.
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