It was one of those unusual days in the ER when nothing was going on. No car accidents, no sick kids, no broken bones – and the nurses left the department in a rare opportunity to relax at the cafeteria for lunch. Alone in the department I strolled around looking through the windows to the sunny summer day outside. As I watched, the glass ambulance doors opened and a man wandered through. He had a distinctive swaggering walk and blond hair that was long enough to fall in soft curls, but I couldn’t see his face behind the bloody towel he clutched
“Nosebleed,” I asked?
“No, a cut from broken glass.”
I must have given him a puzzled glance because he went on to explain. “I was unloading a case of beer at my restaurant and one slid out of my hand and smashed. The bottom flew back up and hit me inside my nose. I didn’t even know I was hurt until I saw all the blood.”
I led him into one of the treatment rooms as drops of blood trailed behind him. With the nurses gone I set up the suture tray myself. I chatted as I worked, trying to relax him, but here was really no need. He was calm and polite and very easy to talk to. We had already discussed the movies Clueless and Apollo 13 by the time I sat down next to his stretcher to assess the damage.
For my queasy readers, I will skip the details, but Neil had a deep cut inside his nose. And if you haven’t guessed it yet, this was the first time we met. It took about a half hour to repair the laceration, but as we talked about favorite books and current music I forgot I was at work. I realized he had an amazing vocabulary, and although his eyes were perfect blue and his smile was contagious, it was his words that worked his way into my heart. Our romance didn’t start that day, but a seed was planted.
That first meeting has been on my mind a lot lately and I’ve ben trying to figure out why. Is there a lesson to be learned? A reminder of something my brain thinks I’ve forgotten? Maybe it’s that good things (like our relationship) can come from bad (Neil’s injury). Or maybe it’s that you can’t predict the future (we had no idea that within a year we’d be married). Or that you should be kind to everyone you meet because you never know when you’ll meet them again.
These are all true, but none of them feel like the lesson my brain wants to remind me. Could it be that there is no lesson? Even as I write that question I can hear Neil saying, “Can you quit overthinking it! For heaven’s sake, it’s a happy memory – just enjoy it and quit trying to analyze it!”
Aah, there it is. Sometimes you can just enjoy life without trying to figure it out. Sometimes you can simply savor it and appreciate the joy it brings. So today, let’s take a break from questioning and considering and probing. For today, let’s simply delight in our memories and let our minds relax.
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And if you are interested in my article, Five Steps for Coping with the Loss of a Loved One, just published in Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly, click the link here or copy and paste it into your browser: