A little over four years ago, in a freak accident, I fell and broke both of my arms. Rods and screws in both wrists, the works. People tend to expect some crazy story – because, really – how does someone break both of their arms at the same time? Well, I was simply walking through a parking garage and stepped in a small hole I hadn’t noticed, lost my balance and fell forward. I caught myself with my arms out in sort of a push-up position (something that I had actually done many times before in my life with no injury at all) and watched with a sort of disbelief and horror as both of my arms visibly snapped above my wrists.
The reason I’m bringing this up today – is that I fell in virtually the exact same way this morning. I was helping my friend move some stuff in her driveway. I stepped on an uneven part of the pavement and before I knew it, I was catching myself with my arms in front of me. Just like in that parking garage, I hadn’t had even a second to think – I just instinctively landed with my arms like that. There were some metal bars that my hands landed on and it stung for a second, but I walked away from the experience uninjured. I immediately felt like there was a message for me there – partly to do with trusting the Universe and partly to do with nothing happens that isn’t meant to happen.
When I was a kid, I was a rough and tumble athlete. I fell on purpose regularly, practiced falling, imagining myself a football or baseball hero. On the tennis court, I reached for a ball or even dove for a ball many times, landing myself in a tumble. No harm done. And then there were the many times that I rolled my ankle wearing the slide shoes that my mom always told me to stop wearing because they didn’t provide enough support … and I kept rolling my ankle and falling. I am no stranger to falling – I know how to take a fall, how to roll out of a fall, how to catch myself. And yet, that one time, that ONE time, I had a very serious injury. WHY? Also, I’m older now. Why didn’t today’s fall hurt me? (I mean, I’m grateful that it didn’t, but it got me thinking.)
I learned a lot of lessons when I broke both arms – lessons that I wouldn’t have learned if something so extreme hadn’t happened. I learned who was there for me in my life and who wasn’t. My best friend at the time was someone who I had helped in multiple ways over the previous years, giving her money, babysitting for her, feeding her and her child regularly, doing all kinds of things for her. I found out the true state of our friendship when I was completely helpless. She was not willing to lift one single finger to help me. Ours was a one-way friendship. I could have seen that earlier, honestly maybe did see that, but ignored it because I loved her child so much. Nobody could have told me. Words would not have convinced me. How she treated me when I was in such desperate need was the only thing that could have made me see the light. After all I’d done for her and all of the meals I’d made for her, when I didn’t have the use of my hands … there were no meals for me, there was no help for me – she had nothing for me.
I was renting a room in the house she shared with her baby’s father at the time of the accident. I actually had to leave and go stay with someone else because my “friend” was so unwilling to help me. Can you imagine? Even so, after I’d healed and returned “home,” I let it all slide and allowed her to continue using me for another year. When her car died, I let her borrow my car all of the time, at my own expense and inconvenience. I rearranged my life for her to make her life easier. I clearly hadn’t learned yet at that point to have healthy boundaries. So, the Universe sent another painful lesson.
She found some other people, a couple, who would take her in, help her out financially, and provide her with transportation, so she took her child and left the house we were living in to go live with them. This wouldn’t have been so bad, I suppose, except that she abruptly cut off all communication with me and refused to allow her son to interact with me. This was a child who had spent almost the entirety of his first five years of life with me up to that point and I loved him like my own, we were very close. Now, he wasn’t allowed to even wave at me or look at me if we saw each other in the neighborhood, much less talk with me. It was a very painful and confusing time for both the child and me. Fortunately, his father and I remained friends and I’ve remained able to have contact with my godson through him. Now, what were the lessons there?
For starters, I learned to not ignore the signs of relationships being imbalanced or unfair. I learned to develop boundaries around how I was willing to be treated and valued in any sort of relationship (I had more lessons in that arena with a very disappointing business relationship after that, but it’s all lessons – I learn and grow). I learned more about myself, actually, and how to prioritize myself more in my own life and relationships. I learned that I needed to cultivate more mutual relationships – and that I needed to be able to receive as well as to give. I also learned that when I have needs, the Universe provides – often in completely unexpected ways.
See, when I was completely helpless, an angel who was a retired nurse stepped up to help me. At the time, she was more of an acquaintance than a friend – we didn’t know each other well. Still, she took me into her home and took care of me for two months and became one of my dearest friends. I one hundred percent believe that friendship unfolding as it has was – and is – Divinely orchestrated. A very important lesson for me in that situation was to learn to receive. That’s a lesson that I still struggle with a bit, because I’m much more comfortable with giving than I am with receiving. I like to be generous. I like to help people. And the reality is that I’ve always struggled with being able to accept other people’s help and generosity. A core fear from my childhood has been that of being “more trouble than I’m worth.” So, I’ve tried not to be any trouble at all. I’ve tried to be helpful, useful, worth having around.
The Universe has brought me to my knees multiple times in the past several years, where I’ve had no other choice than to accept help from others – even when I’ve had nothing to offer in return. When I was having cancer treatment in another state, several friends stepped up to take me into their homes and give me sanctuary and healing space. When I couldn’t even hold a fork, my friend fed me – nourishing not just my body, but my spirit. I’ve struggled financially over the past few years and I’ve had friends rent inexpensive rooms to me in their homes. And now, during this pandemic, when I’ve been unemployed and come to the point of having no money to even pay a little rent, family and friends have taken me in. It’s been humbling and not easy for me emotionally, but I have to say that it’s also made me feel loved and valued for me – not for what I can do for others, but just for me, just for existing. That is a lesson/message that I didn’t even know how much I needed. I’m still processing that one.
So, back to this morning. The fall that didn’t hurt me. The message that the Universe has got me and that my life is Divinely Guided. I’ve spent these past many months looking forward with some fear and trepidation and, honestly, despair. What would become of me? How was I going to survive? I didn’t see a path forward for me. I’m only 56 – was this going to be the end of the road for me? I haven’t been able to find a job since my job ended last June – and not for a lack of trying. I started this online healing/counseling practice on my own, but it isn’t even close to supporting me (yet). I’ve been worrying how I was going to make it. And then I got this message this morning.
The security of the money that I used to have was an illusion. It’s all gone now. It didn’t protect me. And yet, here I am. Still alive. Still have a roof over my head. Still am not going hungry – food is being provided for me. My life is still good even though I barely have any money (super grateful for the survival checks!). I could start panicking if I look a few months ahead and wonder if I’m going to be able to keep making my car payment or if I’m going to lose my car too. But I’m not going to do that. You know why? Because I’m going to trust the Universe. Because when I fell and didn’t get hurt this morning, the message I received was that the Universe has me – and that everything happens for a Divine Purpose, in the right way and at the right time. The Universe has always provided for me, and even though from my limited human perspective I don’t see how that will happen in the future, I do expect that to continue. Nothing happens that isn’t meant to happen, and what’s meant to happen, happens. I may not always understand it, but I do have faith in that. I’m holding onto that faith.