I went home to celebrate my 50th birthday last week.
Actually, it was a lot of fun and I appreciate all the hard work my family did in making my birthday extra-special. I treasure the time spent with my family, special occasions or not.
But in the midst of the party there was a traumatic experience, one that affected everyone differently.
My sister, letting my toddler grandson help her drive the golf cart, was headed down the hill when the cart picked up speed and hit a patch of rocks, wet from the week’s rains. It became obvious to her that she had two choices: let go of the baby and use both hands to try and control the steering wheel or let go of the steering wheel and wrap the baby up in her arms to protect him. She chose the baby.
Out of vision from the rest of the family, we only heard the crash followed by faint cries. In fact, the cries were so muffled everyone froze for a second to determine whether we were hearing crying or kids playing. A split second later, everyone was sprinting across the deck. Turned out that my sister had managed to protect the baby, pushing him out of her arms to get help as she lay in a tangled mess of metal. (The fire dept. would later extricate her as EMT’s put her on a stretcher.)
In those few seconds, though, before reaching the bottom of the hill, my mind went through a million different scenarios. Who was still in the cart? I couldn’t see and I’d had no idea who was on it. Were they alive? I pictured my other grandchildren in a tangled mess as well.
Then one of the grandkids came flying past me. Then another.
It was as if time slowed down, relief flooding me as I counted one person safe in my mind after another. By the time I reached the cart, about 10 seconds had passed. It had seemed like a lifetime. I saw my sister lying there and knew everything would be okay.
She was hurt, but my baby sister is one tough cookie. Nevertheless, I gently took her hand and prayed while the paramedics were en route.
I then went back up the hill with the other grandkids who were shaken. Meaning well, everyone was telling my 9-year-old granddaughter not to cry because everything was alright.
Sometimes you just need to cry.
When she finally snuck off a few minutes later to cry in peace, I wrapped my arms around her and let her sob.
Pent-up emotions like that need to come out.
At least when you’re a girl. My pragmatic 8-year-old grandson deduced that she’d probably shattered every bone in her body and then came up with a plan to get the golf cart back so it could be fixed!
Driving home the next day, I still had some pent-up emotions myself and cried a little myself.
But then it was time to dry my tears.
Too often, we feed on our sorrow. We like to wallow and commiserate. We rehash things in our heads to the point where we can’t even function. We aren’t enjoying life; we have given the devil full control.
We must guard against this.
Sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning.
Know when it’s time to let the sorrow go.