The bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough was sitting in the couch between my son and I. We were having a bonding moment. A delicious mommy-son bonding moment. Then the phone rang.
It was my daughter, or at least I thought it was. She still had fifteen minutes of cheer practice left before I was supposed to pick her up, but her coach had been sick and I thought perhaps they were being sent home early on account of that.
The voice on the other end of the line was not my daughter. I could hear her, but she was in the background. Crying hysterically.
Her coach explained to my frantic heart that there had been an accident, and my daughter had been dropped. She needed to be taken to a doctor right away. I hurriedly hung up, scrambled to get my keys and ran out the door.
I did my best to stay calm while I drove to the school. I didn’t honk at the crawling truck in front of me, nor did I swerve around him in a mad dash to get there faster. I could not afford to risk getting pulled over and taking more time to get to her.
When I got to the school, I parked in front and ran through the building behind her best friend and my son, who were showing me the way to get to her. When I turned the last corner, she was sitting, ashen faced, with her arm propped up on a table and an ice pack over her wrist.
A strange mixture of pain and relief settled over me. I was relieved she was not hurt as bad as I imagined she might have been, but hurting because she was hurting. I approached her, anxious to see what was wrong. My eyes were searching her whole body for a sign of trauma. Then her coach raised the ice pack and my stomach turned. Her wrist was at an odd angle and very swollen. My eyes met her coach’s and she mouthed, “It’s broken.” I pinched my lips together and nodded, trying not to cry.
Her coach and I quickly decided that I needed to pull the car around to a closer side door, and by the time I pulled around, she was carrying my daughter to the car. I was so grateful to her. I could not have picked her up and carried her. All the while, my baby girl (who’s not so much a baby anymore, but still very much my baby in my heart) was agonizing over every excruciating movement.
Amazingly, the hospital was not too busy and we were very soon in a room on the emergency ward getting xrays. My poor girl was squeaking through clenched teeth, pouring out her pain. I stood right outside the door wringing my hands, unsure of what to do with them. With me. Feeling very helpless, yet very needed. She needed me, but I was useless.
After the x-rays came the wait. Minutes ticked by every so slowly while we waited for word on how bad it was. By the looks of it, we knew her wrist was broken, but how bad was the break? Was the other wrist broken as well? What kind of pain was coming next? She was in turmoil physically and emotionally. I was a wreck because I couldn’t do anything for her.
The xrays revealed that the radius had been completely detached from the wrist bones and her hand had moved down and to the side of it. The whole mangled mess needed to be set immediately. Or after an hour of preparation and pain.
We waited. She was so scared of what was next. Would it hurt? Would they please knock her out so she didn’t feel anything? When would the pain go away?
Finally, they sent me out into the waiting area while they sedated and “reduced” her wrist. I sat down and thanked God. I thanked Him that it hadn’t been worse. That she would wake up and not feel the pain she fell asleep with. I thanked Him that we are breakable. Or otherwise mendable. That when we break, we aren’t destroyed. We heal. Life goes on. That the pain would come and go until one day, she won’t feel it anymore. And then I marveled at how deep this truth goes.
I have been broken. Perhaps so have you. I think at some point, we all are. And part of that is by design. God purposes our breaking sometimes. And sometimes, He wisely repurposes the breaking we endure that was never inside His plan for us. No matter how or why we have been broken, I find great strength and peace in the fact that we are breakable. That we are made to endure such hardships, to heal from all the painful things we go through. We are not destroyed. We are mended. The pain may be our companion for a while, and we might spend a great deal of time simply managing our pain. But as time goes on, the pain subsides. The ache remains with the memory, but the fiery intensity of the breaking is gone. In my own life, I have found that the more we press into God and give over our hurt, surrendering it daily, the less it hurts us. Because He lovingly carries our burden. He takes our pain. He carries it so we can be free of it. And we learn to trust Him. We become intimate with the One who relieves us in our suffering, until we finally become aware of this magnificent truth: He gives gladness for mourning. From the ashes of our pain, from the pieces of our brokenness burst forth a precious, beautiful new reality.