67. Happenstance


“Why’d that happ-un?”

Ouch.  My core is sore (thanks, PT37).  But my insides are happy :), so let’s get down to business.

A couple of months ago some friends came over.  When S&E arrived, S responded to the parental greeting on the intercom/doorbell by announcing, We’re here…with a search warrant.  Heh heh heh. If you don’t know S, let me explain that this statement is made funny since it’s a phrase common to his line of work and uncommon to the context in which he used it.  S also does not have an immediately jovial demeanor so the element of surprise gives him an automatic deadpan delivery that makes whatever he jokes about even funnier.

The “search warrant” statement is actually a relevant one for me.  I had actually hoped that my injury would be a “Get out of Jail Free” card, but it’s not – my current medical state carries no future guarantee of cancerlessness or dementia-free living.  But what it did constitute was a search warrant:  to search myself, by myself.

I thought this might be obvious given the other stuff I write, but in case this is the only thing I write that you ever read, and also in case you read everything I produce (which is saying something – thank you!) I want to spell it out anyway:  There was no element of happenstance regarding what happened to me.  Specifically, the timing of my brain bleed was part of the plan for my life from the beginning.

At first I was naturally unhappy about the derailment of my Africa plans, and then I realized that if the fact that I was ready to leave my relatively cushy gig in OR and go “serve the Lord” in Africa and then ended up losing everything except my family made me squirm, it must have made a lot of other people uncomfortable, too.    I’m thinking in particular of the people who received Tanpo’s email updates and who prayed for me.  I don’t think Tanpo ever wrote that I had wanted to move to Africa, but he disclosed the fact that I had just returned from a visit there and some friends told me this summer that they had read between the lines and were not surprised that I wanted to move to Africa for real.

I looked up the word “happenstance” yesterday.  It means, “a circumstance especially that is due to chance” (m-w.com).  So this is what I’m saying does not characterize my injury.  By the way, sometimes people wonder whether to call my bleed an “accident” or an “injury” – I’m going to go with “injury.”

The picture above is a still shot from a video of “my son” Joshie.  It was taken several years ago when he had just started nursery school. He had had a rough day and sat on the edge of the bed to tell his mom about it.  His monologue is replete with very expressive gestures, but my favorite part is when he pauses to look off into the distance and says, “Why’d that happ-un?”  He was just reflecting on his day and was wondering why it had been hard.  It’s such an honest question – not just for little kids, but for grown ups, too.

Mommy told me I mouthed the word, “Why” a lot in the 2nd Hospital.  I was able to move my mouth by that point but no sound came out.  I have no recollection of doing this so I was probably still mostly asleep.  But the question, “why” emerged from my subconscious loud and clear even though I posed it silently.

I don’t know why this happened.  I have some theories, though.  Maybe you do, too, in which case feel free to share them with me next time I see you.  So I don’t know why this happened but I am certain that it did not happen by accident.  I am also certain that everyone I’ve met as a result of my illness  has been placed here to help me for a reason.

Example:  There were two women who came to my aid when I collapsed in the Ladies’ Room at work.  The second lady, who I spent more than a year wondering if I had imagined, indicated via an email to my coworkers that the first lady was truly critical in getting me the help I needed.  If she had not stopped to assist me when she noticed me slipping to the floor (my stall door was open), I would likely not have emerged from that bathroom alive.  I wanted to thank her for a long time, and when I finally learned her name I wrote the following: