Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Moment of Thanks" Reprise

I wrote this post last year, and ask your indulgence as I post it again. It still seems appropriate. . . .

"You can plan all you want to. You can lie in your morning bed and fill whole notebooks with schemes and intentions. But within a single afternoon, within hours or minutes, everything you plan and everything you have fought to make yourself can be undone as a slug is undone when salt is poured on him. And right up to the moment when you find yourself dissolving into foam you can still believe you are doing fine."

Wallace Stegner, Crossing to Safety

Thirteen years ago, just before dinnertime on the Monday of Thanksgiving week, my seven-year old son was hit by a car. Now twenty, he'll be arriving home from college tomorrow; his twenty-one year old brother the next day. We have much for which to be thankful. But that night, for a few moments, I wasn't sure I'd ever breathe a thankful breath again. When the neighbor boy burst into my house, yelling, "Eric just got hit by a car!" my world froze. I wasn't sure I could face what awaited me just outside my front door. Somehow, I propelled myself outside, after tossing the phone to the neighbor and telling him to call 911. When I hit the porch steps I heard my son's cries and I thought, Okay, he's alive. When I knelt by his side, I saw his feet moving and told myself, Okay, he's not paralyzed. And I knew right then we were incredibly lucky. And I was thankful beyond measure.

Later, after the ambulance ride, after the X-rays, after the doctor shook his head and said, just before releasing him, "He's fine. He shouldn't be but he is," I remembered the above Stegner quote. The salt had been just ready to pour down on me, on us, on our life. And then it didn't. But I knew how easily it could have rained down over our world. A different driver. A bigger, faster car. A shift in the trajectory of my son's body as it flew through the air. But, even now, I have to turn my mind away from those awful possibilities.

Our lives are full of such moments, but many times we don't even know it. We don't know what we've narrowly escaped, what's just missed us. And so, for what we know and don't know, I am thankful. For the times the salt didn't pour down and for the strength to continue when it did, I give thanks.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, but even more, I wish you a spirit of thankfulness as you go about your lives everyday.


Daisy said...

Hugs to you and yours. My son was in a crash when he was 9: no major injuries, but the emotional trauma is still with him at age 16. Hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful! We're already cleaning house for ours. :)

debra said...

I linked to you last year when you wrote this post. I, too, give thanks, for gifts large and small; for those that are obvious and for those that are hidden. Blessed days are these.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Daisy--That emotional trauma never does completely go away, does it? So glad those were the only scars. Happy Thanksgiving for you too! I've been planning menus all day.

Debra--I remember you linking last year. And I really did intend to write a new post this year, but every time I sat down to write one this was what was on my mind. Hope yours is wonderful!

debra said...

This post is as significant this year as if was last, Judy. thanks for reposting it :-)