I am currently healing from a probable cracked rib and from inflammation of the soft tissue around the rib. I picked up a cough right before Christmas. The cough was my only symptom and I did not really consider myself “sick”, which meant that I did not take any time to extra time to take care of myself. The reality that Henrik was working his way through a very disturbed sleep phase depleted my reserves even more. My cough worsened significantly in early January and I was unaware that as I worked to clear my lungs I was also damaging my ribs.
It has been about two week since the pain really intensified and I think that I am finally healing. The injury feels very crushing, both physically and mentally. I am mentally very frustrated that such a seemingly minor physical injury can put so much of my life temporarily on hold. Yet in Haiti right now, people are dealing with exponentially more debilitating crushing injuries.
As I strive to look for beauty every day I keep reflecting on a video I found recently on MSNBC. The news report starts with a man standing outside/on top of a pile of rubble that used to be a bank where his wife had been working on the day of the earthquake. He was convinced, six days after the earthquake, that his wife was still alive. He was able to find an opening in the debris and as he called out his wife’s name, she finally answered. She was still alive.
The Haitians on site lacked sufficient tools to help reach the woman. Amazingly, a team of firefighters arrived on the scene with the appropriate equipment. Three hours from the time her voice was first heard the woman was extricated from the wreckage. She had miraculously suffered only minor injuries. As she was being slid out of the collapsed building on a stretcher she started singing. After being trapped for six days she was moved to sing. A reporter leaned in and asked her, “Did you think you would live?”. She responded, “Live, why not?”. Her response has resonated with me ever since.
She sat up and got in a car with her husband and drove off. I just heard tonight on NPR of a teenage girl who was pulled out alive from the rubble today. It has now been fifteen days since the earthquake. I have pain in my ribs. My pain is the result of a cough, not from the world tumbling down around me. Their bodies were crushed. Their minds were left to sort through their physical pain and the unknown. Their spirits persevered. I will hold on to the beauty of their uncrushable spirits.