I am currently in the process of healing from a pretty substantial black eye. I remember telling my best friend that I knew the Lord would give me an illustration from it to share. And, here we are.
I remember as a child hearing my grandmother speak some version of a phrase that essentially meant that sometimes the Good Lord has to knock you upside your head to get your attention. At the exact moment prior to my accident, I was writing out a letter. I believe I was around four pages into it. It was essentially a documented confrontation, with a substantial amount of context before getting to the crux of it. I was unleashing my inner turmoil on the page, when my husband asked if I could help him take down some of our outdoor Christmas decor.
I didn’t really want to be interrupted. Again. This was not the first or second time over a period of 24 hours that I had been interrupted while writing this verbal deluge. So, I begrudgingly headed out the front door to quickly do whatever it was he needed from me. My mind was on this typed out onslaught of information, what I was going to write next, what have I forgotten to include, etc. I was not thinking clearly and focused on the task at hand when my husband handed me the drill.
The task was simple enough. He was going to hold the weight of this particular decorative piece, and I just had to undo the bolts so it could be taken apart and stowed away. Probably no more than 4 minutes of my time. My head was not there. So, when he handed me the drill, I went right for it. I’m still not exactly sure how it happened entirely, it was such a quick moment.
What I do know is that the drill spun out of my hand, clocking me in the face, knocking my glasses off and into the yard, and I spun on my heels and headed for the garage. My husband trailed behind me to make sure that I was ok, while trying to understand for himself exactly what had just happened to me.
In short order, my face began to swell and turn shades of blue and purple. By morning streaks of red. For several days it remained swollen. The colors began to shift into greens and yellows. It’s been 11 days, as of this writing, and my face is still tender. I can cover the discoloration in make up, but not without experiencing pain while doing so. I long for the evening I am going to finally be able to really clean my face well.
One little incident… but so many lessons. What was the point of this happening? What lesson could the Lord be trying to teach me through this?
First, I thought that perhaps this was an issue around the letter itself. The continuous interruptions meant that the Lord was trying to stop me from writing the letter. Nodding to my grandmother’s phrase, it literally took getting knocked upside the head to get me to stop. Post injury, it was several days before I even gave that letter a second thought.
Then, I considered that perhaps the lesson was about the condition of my heart. My husband had a simple request, the letter could have waited, there was no reason for me to have such an attitude about helping him out for a mere few minutes. Maybe the knock in the head was to help me get my heart back in order.
The third thought that crossed my mind, dug a bit deeper. Something to the effect of just as my make up can cover the visible signs of my wounding, deep wounds still hurt and require time to heal. We can put on a mask as we suffer through, or as we heal.
Then my mind wandered to an ever deeper thought. I know power tools, I have used them for many years. I took shop in both middle and high school. In high school and college, I was involved in building theatrical sets for our productions. Which means I know to respect the power and danger in using tools, as well as having been taught proper safety precautions when using them. In this incident, I was in such a hurry to get it done, I minimized the job and did not follow the protocols that I normally would.
I assumed that my husband handed me the drill set and ready to use. I didn’t check it first. Then when using it, I made a few other wrong choices that put me in too close proximity to the tool and unprotected. While I still can not exactly pin point what went wrong in the exact moment, I do know that had I made better decisions leading up to that moment … the drill would have never touched my face.
I likened this moment to the Lord’s gifting to us of wisdom and direction in the Scriptures, lessons that are for our good and keep us safe. We are taught them, reminded of them, and know them well and yet at times choose to ignore them. Maybe because we are in a hurry, or our hearts are not right, we might be distracted, or making assumptions, etc. None the less, when we disregard them it will result in our experiencing pain or difficulty.
I know that immediately after it happened, while my face was pounding, and tears pouring down my face (which is an indicator of how much pain I was in, as I have a high pain tolerance)…. I was praising God because I knew it could have been much worse.
What if I had taken my glasses off, and lacked that extra layer of protection that covered my eyes? What if the drill had made contact directly with my temple? What if I had been even closer?
I was attempting to read deeply into what happened for some sort of spiritual lesson. Today it dawned on me that sometimes the lesson is the consequence.
Sometimes, it is as simple as “Gena, if you don’t follow the proper procedures, you are going to get injured. “
No deep meaning. Just a tangible lesson in following shop safety procedures, so that you don’t get hit in the face with a drill.