Well, now is the time.
Today is a special day. For today marks the five year anniversary of a strange and interesting accident involving hundreds of kids, a walking field trip, a van that couldn't stop, and me. That's right. Me.
If you've got a large cup of coffee, and a comfy chair, you can read my story in it's entirety here. However, if you don't have hours and hours of time on your hands to go scrolling through old blogs (I don't blame you), then I will tell you my version in the quickest way I know how.
The spring of my first year of teaching, my school took a walking field trip to a nearby playhouse to see a production of The Jungle Book. On the way home, we crossed the street that had been closed for the safety of the children. As I crossed at the back of my line, I was hit by an oncoming van that had lost power in it's brakes. I remember waking up to the most gorgeous blue sky and a massive headache. I walked away with some cuts and bruises. Physically, for the most part, I was fine, but mentally, I was cuh-razy. It was a sad and interesting time. I spent my summer making regular visits to see a counselor named Charlie who usually treated people with drug and alcohol addictions (and sometimes maniacal teachers). **edit: I was NOT addicted to drugs or alcohol. He took me on as a "special PTSD case" per a mutual friend's request.** :)
Maybe someday, I will tell you about all the amazing things I learned and the silly thoughts I had while staring at the poster on his wall. Someday, but not now.
So, here we are, five years later and "normal" as ever. I will probably have to take a valium every Halloween when we take our kids trick-or-treating...too much traffic... and there are other little "quirks" I've acquired along the way, but that is just life. That is par for the course. (I love saying that).
In no way am I comparing an accident to the death of a child, a failed marriage, or burying a spouse. I don't think I can even begin to fathom that kind of pain BUT...
It taught me that a trauma is a trauma no matter how seemingly large or small. Trauma is the great equalizer; I found that I was able to relate to people who had been divorced, lost a child, been in accidents, had loved ones survive accidents, and that opened a new avenue to God. It gave me an edge. It made me a bit more raw. It was like taking sand paper to my edges. And somehow, it was good.
I was able to say, "I have so been there." When you just know you have suffered a great loss, even if you can't identify exactly what is missing. That is the worst.
I think this guy says it best.
"Pain is pain. Brokenness is brokenness."
So, I am tempted to get on here and tell you that we are having company and my house is messy and I am stressed out for silly reasons and feeling incredibly guilty for feeling such concerns, on this day of all days, no less.
But instead, I will try not to be ridiculous.
Instead, I will tell you that I drove home with the windows down and admired how wonderfully our rhododendron is blooming. I will tell you that I am trying to STOP simply staying alive.
I am trying to LIVE.
Sometimes, when the children are telling me stories, I find myself listening so closely, but feeling quite distracted. I find myself sometimes-sort-of-scowling from all the work and the hard-ness and the listening and then my heart has to tell my brain to tell my mouth to smile. It says, "Here is a child who is being kind and silly and good. Smile." And then later I think to myself, "What is that all about?"
I feel such a pull. Such a desire to live. I think about Hawaii and the decision we have made to spend a little money and abandon all other obligations and just explore. I do not want to live the kind of life where a sense of adventure and wonder is reserved for such occasions...for two week vacations to tropical islands. No siree.
I am trying to LIVE. I am trying to LIVE and enjoy the process.
P.S. How much do you love this nose?