It happened so quickly. Immediately I tried to replay, rewind, undo, but while waiting in the ER, reality set in, I broke my arm on Dec. 20. All it took was a slip of the boot on a pool of greasy water on a tile floor in a darkened hallway of a restaurant. Once in a sling, I wanted to apologize to everyone I had ever known with a broken arm on your dominant side. I had no idea how impossible it would be to do regular life: type, text, turn a door handle, open milk, mustard or wine. I kept thinking of a friend of a friend who had his arm amputated in his 20s, days before his wedding, and how he learned to ballroom dance with one arm. And of our fallen heroes who lose limbs and suffer from PTSD.
At a busy time, I was forced to slow down a little. Dial back the expectations of holiday cheer. Which turned out to be a good thing. I read more books, saw more movies, savored more visits with family and baked fewer cookies! And family and friends jumped in to put their arms at my disposal. My daughter-in-law applied my makeup. My son peeled the shrimp. My husband sliced the potatoes. My guests did the dishes. My friends dropped off soup.
It was a good reminder to me that none of us really goes it alone. We need one another to help carry the load – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And that is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. We often quote I Corinthians 13 about “love is patient and kind” but just before that, chapter 12 reads:
“the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.”
Real love is not some flowery metaphor. It is sharing our arms with each other. “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (v 27) Thank you for all the ways you reach out with your own arms to reveal that love born in a stable 2000 years ago.
Grace and peace to you,