Sticks and Stones Will break your Bones

Poppy and I visited a new park near our house a number of years ago.  One of this park’s feature pieces of equipment is a large swing that hangs down from three metal poles that stand in a tee-pee formation. The swing itself is a very heavy saucer-shaped basket. Three or four kids can lie down in it. You sort of push it up and out and it adopts a very unpredictable orbital trajectory. I had Poppy and two of my friend’s kids in the basket happily swinging away. In my peripheral vision I noticed some movement. When I looked I could see a boy aged about 3 running toward the swing. His mum was jogging slowly behind him well within reach. At any moment she could speed up and stop him which I thought she would, but she didn’t. He just got closer and closer to the swing. It dawned on me that the mother was not going to stop him from running into the path of the swing.  Being hit by the heavy metal and plastic basket with three kids in it would be the equivlant of being hit by a slow moving car.

While all of this seemed to unfold slowly those last few seconds seem to go so fast. As the little boy was about to run into the path of the swing I jumped in front of it and tried to stop it from hitting him. I succeeded but in the process my little finger on my right hand was snapped backwards by the swing. I turned to the mother of the boy and said ‘why didn’t you stop your child? I’ve broken my finger saving him from being hit.’ Incredibly she responded with ‘it’s just dislocated’. Before I could argue with her I realised I was in a great deal of pain. I went to my friend and we both decided it was worth going to the nearby doctor’s office. I got in the car and drove there but it was closed. By now I was in so much pain I was screaming and crying with every move of my hand.

Blinded by pain I drove on to the hospital.  Forever the Scrooge when it comes to paying for parking I couldn’t bear to park in the hospital parking so I drove around looking for a spot. Luckily I got one quickly. Thank God I left Poppy with my friend as I was screaming so much and so loudly it would have scared her.

Upon arrival at the emergency department I was ‘triaged’ to the top of the list, that is I got in immediately. I was offered happy gas which I quickly accepted. I loved it. I made a number of very funny stoner calls. By the time the doctors tried to pull my dislocated finger back in to place, which failed miserably, the discovery was made by x-ray that the bone had been diagonally snapped into two pieces. I had surgery to put a pin in to hold the two pieces in place while it healed.

Recovery was slow and small. To this day I have an obviously crooked little finger but the greater injury was to my spirit. For many months following the accident I struggled with intense feelings of hatred toward the woman at the park. I hated her neglect, her misjudgment, her blasé attitude to my person. I hated her ignorance, her understated diagnosis. I hated that she didn’t care and I hated that she didn’t know what I had done for her son. I hated that I could never yell at her and make her apologise for her stupidity.

I wanted someone to pay. I wanted to blame and shame someone for what happened.  The whole thing was eating me up. I replayed the event in my mind continually, always ending up in the same place – angry and resentful. It took me longer than it should’ve but I finally chose to forgive the woman, not that she knew. I often wonder if she ever even thought of me again.

No one is immune to these things. We are all vulnerable to pain whether it be physical, emotional, verbal or sexual. We all have a choice to harbour the offence or forgive. My hatred became a prison. I became chained to the offender and the offence reliving the event over and over. When I finally forgave her I got out of jail. I was free. Forgiveness is never about the other person – it’s all about you. I know this is the second time I have beat the drum of forgiveness in a blog post but I dare say I’ll need to beat it again – not for your sake but for my own.

Over and Out,

Catherine xoxo

2 Comments to “Sticks and Stones Will break your Bones”

  1. I love your blogs Catherine. You are an amazing woman. xox

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