Wintertime is traditionally the time of slowing down, reflecting, and connecting more closely with others, especially those whom we love. Of course since the industrialization of our world, our pace has quickened and, apart from "Christmas” and/or spring break or the equivalent, we have tended to forget this important time.
When we were primarily an agriculturally based society, slowing down was easier. The food was in the barn, there was enough daylight to care for the farm animals, and lots of time for visiting. Being that it is a dark time of the year it was only natural, especially given the extra time, for us to do more reflecting on our lives.
While I am far from being a farmer, a recent incident has helped me to slow down and engage in some reflecting and connecting with friends. I managed to fall off of my roof. Gravity works very well!
Now in the recuperating mode, I am spending time with my family and friends. While there are certainly fun times, the accident has also helped us to do some reflecting on the value of life.
Although I broke a bunch of bones (the ribs are the most painful), I am immensely grateful to be alive and to look forward to full recovery. While I did not see them, I had one angel on each side of me guiding me down to the ground. It is unlikely that I could have landed better, especially given that in slipping, I fell horizontally. Those angels had me land virtually flat on my back, meaning that there was no damage to my spinal column or neck. The ground I landed on was water-saturated; the squishing sound was of the ground, not me! Most importantly, when I looked around I discovered that two boulders were inches away from my head–on both sides. The rescue crew that arrived was quite startled to see how I had landed perfectly between them. A small deviation either way, and this article would not be–and neither would I.
The thought of being a vegetable or quadriplegic, forever dependent on others for care is not a pleasant one. For some reason, and despite my foolishness in not having a safety strap on, I am meant to be on this planet for a while longer.
Whatever other problems I might have–whether financial, degree of happiness, relationships with others, or the usual aches and pains of life–the gift of life and the hope of a full recovery make them pale in comparison.
Now I find myself, ironically, feeling a deep sense of peace. My friendships mean more to me. My fears for the future seem less important. The Author of life is more real.
All of this doesn’t mean that I’m not impatient with how difficult life is to live while getting around on crutches and feeling constant pain. I don’t like the feeling of helplessness and awkwardness. But life is more meaningful.
May you create a more meaningful life in this season – without falling off of a roof.
Ian Gartshore is a therapist and an energy coach, www.shoreenergy.ca.