The Journey series
After My Fall
This week I begin recounting what I call my second life. My two-storey plummet onto pavement should have been my end. Fortunately, I struck a two by four with my chest on the way down. It slowed my upper body allowing my feet to swing down. I was spared the normal head-first impact. I joke that I wasn’t hurt at all in my fall — then I landed. My ankle was shattered and all three bones in my elbow were broken, but I live.
A close brush with death causes one to think differently of life. Two and a half weeks in in hospital with casts on my right leg and arm allowed ample time for reflection. I realized I had only been drifting through life. I did what I did simply because time must be filled with something. Each day led to nowhere but the next day. I had no goal.
I recalled my time at college. With no guidance but my youthful rebellion, I refused to hop on the educational assembly line. I did things my way. I studied just to know. I wouldn’t be pressed into any mold. I spent more than the specified time without quite completing all the courses for any program, so I wound up accepting a General Education Diploma.
That was back then. Now I was a contractor — was a contractor! Could I still be a contractor with my broken elbow and leg? Would I still be able to swing a hammer? What would I do? My panic settled a bit and I remembered I was only a contractor because someone asked me to be, and because my General Education Diploma hadn’t prepared me to be anything else. Maybe it was time I chose what to be. My surgeon came in and seconded my doubts of recovering enough to return to carpentry. It was time to find a different career.
As much as I resisted other people directing my life, I considered perhaps my college counselor was right. Maybe computer programming was my future; I did well in the courses he selected for me.
Confined temporarily to a wheelchair, I still wasted no time. Two days after my release from hospital I wheeled myself five miles to college and signed up for the Computer Information Systems Co-op Program. Now I had a goal. I applied myself and graduated with honours. I realized, ironically, that I had jumped through most of these same hoops during my previous stint at college, but in a flighty order that didn’t quite land anywhere.
My Co-op employer hired me immediately. I always completed my assignments effectively and efficiently. I got on well with my coworkers. Yet each day, when I got up from under the fluorescent lights of my seven foot by seven foot cubicle to stretch my legs, I’d go over to the windows and stare out longingly. One day I stood looking out at the pouring rain thinking how nice it would be to be outside. That’s when I realized I was not meant to be in an office. For the first time in a very long while I thought about God; “He didn’t create me to be here.”
Next week: Back to my old ways.
2/2/2023 10:19:50 am
Thank youu for sharing this
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Peter T Elliott