Last Thursday, I was in my little bathroom and lost my balance and fell over. Any woman who has been pregnant and has fallen knows you do just about anything not to fall on the stomach! So I ended up landing on my wrist first and slamming onto my elbow after it first hit the wall. My daughter came running at the loud thud and she went and got me the phone so I could call my husband. He asked me a bunch of questions and we determined that it did not seem that I had a break of any kind so I tried to go on with my day. I somehow got Big Bear and myself dressed and ready to go. Thank God Me Too was already dressed - she's in that very difficult "I want to dress myself but I can't really do it yet" phase which leads to much frustration on her part as well as the person dressing her. We got to school and as I tried getting out of the car, the pain had worsened dramatically. We got inside and went down the hall to clock in. A lot of the staff was standing by the break room eating what looked like really yummy angel food cake - never did get a taste myself - and by this point I was tearing up so I told them what happened. Of course, everyone freaked out. The nurse turned teacher was called down the hall to look and she didn't think it looked broken but everyone agreed it was swollen. So, they sent an extra teacher down to my room to help out. About an hour later, a parent pointed out that my hand, wrist and arm were very swollen. The pain was worsening as well so I determined a call to the doctor was probably in order. The next problem is, where to go. I'm pregnant but in the words of my OB, she doesn't do elbows! Plus I knew that she would have to see me and that would be one extra stop I'd have to make. But I feared that if I went to an ER or private emergency clinic they would just send me to her anyway. So I called the OB and of course she wanted me there right away. Sonograms and internal checks were done and when she was satisfied that baby was okay, she got on the phone, during her lunch hour, and made call after call to get me in that afternoon to an orthopedic so I didn't have to go sit in the ER. I was so grateful for her hard work because by this point my arm was really hurting and I was so tired.
So, long story short (or shortened at this point), I have a hairline fracture in my elbow. I was put in a sling and sent on my way. I'm supposed to keep the swelling down (hasn't happened yet) and take it easy (is happening today!). My classes are covered for today and tomorrow. I go back to the dr. on Wednesday and we'll see what they say as far as how much to wear the sling and move the arm. I'm probably not supposed to be typing right now but the next part of this story just has to be told...and now...because it is so beautiful.
The day that this happened, my sweet husband called my dad and asked him to send an email out to the Yahoo group we use at church for a bunch of folks who have all gone through the Christ Renews His Parish retreat. This is an amazing retreat that our church puts on twice a year. It renews people personally and spreads that renewal, the Holy Spirit himself, through the parish. Striving to have a personal life with God, returning to the teachings of the Catholic Church and service to each other in an effort to let Jesus shine through are just a few of the amazing things we have seen come out of this retreat. Anyway, my husband wanted my dad to ask for prayers for me on the basis that I'm 8 mos pregnant, have 2 kids, and unexpectedly in charge of my class this year (for a few more weeks anyway), have had a bad cough for a month, and now have a broken arm. We are in hot debate over the broken arm wording - I say a hairline fracture is not a broken arm, dad and husband disagree. Whatever! A little later I get a call that a meal list is being put together for me - 3 times a week for 3 weeks. My initial reaction was to say no, I'd be getting meals in just a little over a month for the new baby, it was too much. But as I thought about it, I realized that it was probably a good idea seeing as how I'm not that great at two armed cooking and was not anxious to try it one armed. So, I consented and have gotten such yummy meals - even some extra meals from people who couldn't get signed up on the list! We went to Mass yesterday and I could barely get a few steps without someone stopping us to tell me that they are praying for me and asking if we needed anything. As I sat in mass, behind a couple of the girls from my retreat team and one that put on the retreat for me several years ago, I thought about how blessed we were to have this wonderful community. I was thinking about this more as I went to communion. I knelt down at the altar rail and the extraordinary minister (who happened to also be on the team that put on the retreat for me) came to give me communion. She looked at me with such compassion and love as she presented the host.
I was completely blown away by the look on her face - it was the face of Jesus looking at me through her as I simultaneously received his precious body on my tongue. I truly felt at that moment that although I hadn't physically left, I was really in Heaven seeing Jesus. I fought back the tears as I returned to my seat but lost it right away as I sat down. I couldn't even keep my head down because I wanted to look up at Jesus on the cross in the front of the church. I know people must have thought, "Oh that poor pregnant woman with her arm in a sling, she must be in so much pain". But I wasn't - I was so happy and elated.
I know that every time we receive the Eucharist we encounter Jesus and that every time we meet a brother or sister in Christ we see the face of Jesus but this was a very profound and beautiful moment. The love of the community, the love in this woman's face, and the love that comes to us through the Eucharist all came together to manifest itself to me as the love of Jesus Christ made so real that I could reach out and touch it.
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and my family, who is making meals (thank you notes will come - I can type a little but haven't attempted writing yet!) and showing me the face of Jesus. It is truly a beautiful and amazing thing to have such a community around me. Our God is such a loving God and although He allows us to experience struggles, He also gives us the strength and the grace to get through it. He is definitely giving that to me through this amazing community of love.