Sometimes, when I feel a familiar twinge of pain in my left shoulder I remember a strange day at the pool. Two years ago, I was seated on a row of bleachers at a swim meet. I had just handed off Jellybean (who was a baby) to Grandma and was suddenly struck by a tremendous blow. I've been in bad car accidents and it felt something like that. Except that it was a woman.
She was quite large, walked unsteadily with a cane and was attempting to descend about a million little concrete steps. She missed one of them and came crashing downward, head and shoulders first, into me. I estimate that she was double my weight. I'm awfully glad I was there to break her fall since the alternative would have been disastrous for her. However, it did hurt a lot and sometimes it still does.
I was dazed when it happened. I was trying not to cry as people flocked around her and helped her walk away. "Are you okay?" they eventually asked me. "Yes, I'm fine." But I wasn't really okay and I have wished since that time that I had filed a report to benefit from the venue's "incident coverage" to cover some medical care.
I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Actually, from her perspective, I was in exactly the right place at the right time. And maybe that's more important.
Sometimes we wonder why bad things happen to us and rage against certain bad pieces of "luck." I wonder how dramatically our perspective on these things would change should we see the bigger picture.
Thinking about some of the hurtful things and accidents that have happened to me in my life, I can also engage my imagination and think of possible blessings that came about as a result. If I had not been seated exactly where I was, that woman, someone's wife and mother, would have fallen head first, with a tremendous amount of force, into concrete and wood. Perhaps a car accident I was in occurred which prevented one of the drivers from striking a child further on down the road.
It is much more difficult to imagine the blessings disguised in other kinds of suffering but my faith tells me that no one and nothing can trump God's hand. When we get to heaven, that vision will be opened to us and we will gasp with amazement and joy at the hidden picture. There will be clapping and laughter and dancing when we see what He has done with even our worst suffering. It's a place where my imagination cannot always go but I do believe it exists.
I have come to think humorously of the accident at the pool as the "blessing from above." I don't always think of it as my own blessing...but I imagine that one day I will learn otherwise.