A couple of months ago, during the endless drive between the fields flanking I-5, I thought, “I just want to push the re-set button on my life.” What’s the old joke: “when God wants to get even with you, he answers your prayers?” Or, at least, “be careful what you wish for…” In my defense, I was sick: literally, Prilosec-popping, stomach-grinding, shoulder-clenching sick at our financial situation; sick of commuting 75 miles each way to work; heart-sick that my career, my avocation, had failed us; sick of farming my kids out to grandparents for childcare through the summer; sick of rejection letters from literary magazines; sick of spending nights on call away from my husband and kids; sick of aching joints; and sick of waking at 4:00 AM in order to eke out an hour of writing time. I couldn’t see any way off the treadmill; someone had disabled the STOP button.
At the end of June, the week of our 14th wedding anniversary, phase 1 of the reset was taped to our front door. As I’ve posted previously, the foreclosure on our house became inevitable. The universe does nothing by halves. In the weeks that followed, my iPhone erased itself and my first professional article was published. An essay I had written about losing our home was accepted by Salon. That essay changed the way I viewed myself as a writer and switched my writing in the family eye from “hobby” to “side-job.” And, if it hasn’t exactly broken down walls or opened doors into the literary world for me, it has cracked a door or two ajar. Whether anything lies behind those doors is unknown, and I suspect much of it depends on me. The rest is up to luck. Fate?
Fate – at some point, I become skeptical about coincidence. Two days ago, I was performing an exam on a horse. In 30 years of horsemanship, I have lifted thousand of equine legs. The steps inherent to this task flow through my muscles and nerves. This particular patient resented manipulation of his hind limb: he pulled away: I held on, wrapping my fingers more tightly around the cannon bone; he kicked toward me; I held on; he jerked the leg away; I heard a SNAP as my little finger was pulled laterally with the leg. ‘Oh, God, this is gonna …’ On cue, the nauseating ache and instability of a fracture made themselves known. “Ok, we will now pause the pre-purchase exam while the vet tapes her fingers together.” I’m still a little proud that I said this with a grin and an even tone, and that I didn’t throw up on anyone’s shoe. Professionalism is key.
Taping my finger back in place gave enough relief to complete that exam and an ultrasound on a mare that turned out to be the same horse that had run me over 9 years ago. Coincidence, really? X-rays taken at the ER gave me the news that the re-set had indeed been pushed. Rather than the minor broken finger I was expecting, I had managed to break my 5th metacarpal in what they call a “boxer’s fracture.’ I didn’t hit the horse, I swear! Today I follow up with the orthopedist, but my understanding is that my left hand is out of commission for about a month. There has been some discussion of a modified return to work, but in practical terms, a one-armed large animal vet is fairly worthless and at worst, dangerous.
The re-set button has been pushed. I don’t know what changes, if any will result from this string of events, but I do know one thing: I think I’ve done enough wishing for a while…