This past Tuesday, my friend Carolyn's husband asked me, "So, why did you break your leg?"
I was taken aback for a moment by the audacity of the question. Usually, when one suffers a tragedy, or has an accident of some kind, one will wrack their brain trying to figure out why it happened. "Why me?," has always been a popular question. But what he wanted to know was, "why did you create the accident?"
I believe in the spiritual philosophy that I create my own reality, but I told him that I'd not been able to come up with a reason that made any sense.
Still, he got me looking at some questions that I hadn't bothered to think about lately. In addition to "Why did I break my leg?" Questions like: What have I learned over the past six months? What benefit did I get out of the accident? Why am I still using the broken leg as an excuse to be a victim, to get sympathy, to be liked, to be lazy, to take it easy. Whaaaa? What was that last part? To take it easy? What's wrong with taking it easy, I wonder? And why am I still using the broken leg to beat myself up? Why am I not letting go and moving on with a new story about the broken leg, and what new story can I tell?....
After living with these questions all day Tuesday, I went to Senior Water Aerobics class on Wednesday with a renewed sense of acceptance. (Although I hadn't come up with an answer to "why" I broke my leg, I know I wouldn't have joined a "Seniors" class had I not needed gentle water therapy).
After the class, I stayed in the pool to do extra leg exercises. An elder woman from the class whom I'd often smiled at, but never talked with before, made a casual comment: "You haven't had enough, huh?" I answered with, "well, I just need to strengthen my leg." She asked me if I was recovering from a surgery. And I said, "yeah, I broke my femur in March." I saw the sadness in her eyes as she said, "my son did that." She paused. Then she said, "he got a blood clot." I paused. "Did he make it?" I asked. "No."
She went on to tell me that her 37 year old son fell in a hole, much the same way that I did, and landed wrong, just like I did. He had surgery, just like I did, was recovering well, went home, and two weeks later developed a blood clot that traveled to his lung and killed him. She said she didn't understand why the doctor hadn't prescribed a blood thinner, why her son had only been prescribed aspirin. (Blood thinners are usually prescribed after femur surgery, because the risk of developing a blood clot is so high). She said she didn't understand why her son, who was a good Christian, happily married with two children, was taken so soon. But, she said, she had to accept that "the Lord must've needed him for some reason."
As I quietly listened, I thought about the fact that I chose not to take the blood thinners that were prescribed to me after surgery. And I wondered why I escaped a blood clot. Why was I so blessed? Why was I given the opportunity to survive, live, grow, change?
Today, I'm still pondering all of the questions and I am filled with humbleness and gratitude.