Our often fast-paced, frenetic lives get in the way of the north stars that should be guiding us. And trajectories change when, in the blink of an eye, we are blindsided.
My blindside happened just over six years ago. As I was headed to work, I was rear-ended. The driver was distracted by sunlight and never saw my stopped car. Within hours, the headache was excruciating. A visit to the emergency room confirmed that I had a concussion. I later learned that in trauma nerves are affected from the outside in, which may delay the full expression of concussion.
After a week, I returned to work. Our beloved church administrator had recently died suddenly, and there was much to do. But whether I wanted to admit it or not, I was not ok. My speech was impaired, thinking was hard, and it did not improve. Bishop Anne consulted with the wardens and vestry and sent me home.
Recovery took both visual and vestibular therapy. I wasn’t able to read, write, or drive for months. During that time, parishioners made meals, drove me to doctor’s appointments and members of the prayer team came to my house several times. One prayer written by Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), a calvary officer, geographer, monk, and martyr was particularly difficult for me to join.
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures. I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. Amen.
I wasn’t ready to abandon myself, I very much wanted to get better. I had children to care for and a church to serve. But all my efforts had yielded little progress. With the support of their prayers, I was able to surrender with confidence to God’s will without being able to see what lay ahead, a significant moment in my journey of faith.
It may seem odd to say that I treasure the experience of my concussion, but I truly do. I am grateful for the amazing support of this congregation. I am grateful for what God did when I could not. My faith deepened and my heart opened wider during that time as I abandoned my plans, expectations, and desires fully to God.
Thomas Merton, who often referred to de Foucauld’s prayer, observed “Gratitude is the heart of the Christian life.” May our faith continue to increase our gratitude so we, in turn, can live with seeinghearts.
What blindside moments have you experienced in which your faith helped pull you through?