Wednesday, June 21, 2017
In preparing for my first Christmas alone after I moved into my late parents' house, I decided to do some serious holiday decorating. Every year in December, I re-read Dicken's A Christmas Carol so I was familiar with the line in the book that speaks of Bob Cratchit's wife in a twice-turned dress "brave with ribbons." Thus I decided that I would be brave with decorations, and that meant I would have to get the boxes of ornaments out of the crawl-space attic.
The ladder wasn't really quite tall enough but I figured I could manage. There had always been someone to hold it before but it was just a ladder, right? What I didn't account for is that someone who had borrowed the old aluminum ladder had somehow bent it out of true.
I climbed to the very top of the ladder. You know: the place where there is inevitably a warning label that says something about not standing there. I stood there. As I was reaching up high as I could to get into the crawl space, the ladder skewed hard to one side, gave way, and crashed to the floor. I was left clutching the sides of the attic opening with the tips of my fingers. If I released my grasp to try to get a better grip, I'd fall.
I was so scared. I didn't have the strength to hold on, and I didn't know what else to do. So I prayed aloud. Just one sentence: Jesus, please help me. That's when I clearly heard a gentle voice in my head that answered: Just drop. I trusted that voice. Without even thinking about it, I let go. I dropped. I don't remember falling, just letting go.
There was Christmas music playing on the radio. While I was clutching that attic opening, one carol had just begun. When I awoke to find myself lying on the hallway floor, a different song was nearly finished. It seems fair to assume that I had been out cold for five minutes or better. I lay there for awhile, stunned and assessing. Okay, my hands hurt horribly but nothing seemed broken. I continued my mental check from head to toe until I figured it was safe to move.
I was stupefied and sore but I had things to do. I couldn't leave the attic open, so I set the ladder up again, gingerly climbed up, closed the opening, got down again, and went to put the ladder away. It was only then that I noticed the stains on the carpet. Blood. A fair amount of it. In my previous damage inventory, it seems that I missed the fact that I had deeply gashed my foot on the metal ladder. Still moving mechanically, I took care of the wound and then cleaned the carpet. It was only four or five hours later that I figured that I probably should call and let someone know that I'd had a bad fall. Yeah, I kinda don't like bothering people with stuff like that.
That wasn't the first and certainly not the last time I've had a silly accident. Don't even ask me about the time I dropped a hammer on my own head. Stuff happens.
I tend never to call on other human beings when I need help but I always call on God. And I inevitably remember that gentle voice saying Just drop. For me that is the essence of faith. We do the very best we can and then we have to leave things up to God. We have to drop. Consciously. To borrow someone else's saying: Let Go and Let God. We have to trust that things will work out.
Life is good.