Life has a way of teaching me lessons. I’m thankful for that. I love to learn. I remember sitting in a religious gathering once where someone was talking about life after death. The speaker described paradise. In detail. Minutes and minutes of minute detail. Clearly he was intending to create an image of a place so fantastic, so magnificent, that anyone sitting in his audience would do whatever it took to be able to spend eternity in such a place.
I sat there feeling more and more trapped. Because while I pictured myself in this magnificent place, floating, or whatever, in paradise, encased in love, living in a world without pain, I saw a major flaw. If I had all knowledge and understood all secrets as the man promised, I was going to be bored stiff! What was I going to do all day in paradise if I couldn’t keep learning?
I crave learning more than I crave food. So, yes, I’m thankful for life’s lessons. I’m thankful I seem to be served them in abundance. It just takes me a little longer sometimes to feel the gratitude – and sometimes to get the message.
I’m on a three month blog tour. With more than seventy destinations. More than seventy original blogs. I’m also on physical tour. And I have two books due before the end of the year. All good. I love what I do. I brought this on myself. I made it happen. I am NOT complaining. I type upwards of 120 words a minute. As long as the words are flowing, the pages will appear with time left over. And these words really want to flow.
I’m also a wife to the man of my dreams. A man who has made dinner more often than not over the past six weeks. A man who has eaten more fast food French fries in six weeks then he’s had in three years. A man who lives in a house that had dust motes migrating from corners into the middle of the floor. A man who was having conversations with a woman who responded but had no idea what he’d just said. Who had conversations with a woman who couldn’t converse about anything but The Chapman Files, blogging, book signings, and getting pages done. A man who endured all of this without complaining. Seriously. Not one complaint.
My brother called a few weeks ago and asked if we planned to head up to the family cabin in Michigan again before it had to be closed for the season. My husband responded, immediately, in the affirmative. A weekend away. We’d take pictures of fall colors. I said fine. And made lists of all the things I had to before I could leave my office for two whole days. And lists of things I could handle on the blackberry while I was away, with a ‘thank goodness we have cell service up there’ under my breath.
I got them all done. I just hadn’t left time for packing. Oh that. I hadn’t put it on my list. So half an hour before I’m due to leave to pick up said dream guy, I’m rushing around my world trying to collect all of the things I needed to spend two days up in the woods. We’ve got linens at the cabin. I co-own them. I don’t use them. I don’t like having to worry about getting them washed and back up there before my brother needs them. We’ve got blankets there, too. In abundance. I have to take my own. They’re softer. The cooler had to be packed with perishables. We’d want the twenty-two and bullets. The camera. Dog food. I had to remember the dogs. It was going to get down in the thirties. I had to pull out winter clothes. And socks. And hiking shoes. And fire starters and…I had half an hour.
I had no choice. My honey was at work, without a way to get home as I’d taken him to work so we could leave from there because it was half an hour closer to our final destination…
I made miracles happen. Everything appeared out of nowhere and lined up by the door. And I picked them up and started rushing back and forth from the house to the car. The house to the car. Problem was, there was a door in between the two. A screen door with a strong spring latch and a metal handle that didn’t have the wherewithal to get out of my way. With fully loaded heavy cooler in hands, leaning up against body, I pushed the handle, plowed through the door and it swung right back at me. I didn’t slow down. Didn’t pay attention. I just let the darned thing smash against the hand that feeds me. I didn’t slow down. Didn’t pay attention. I had a car to load. A man to collect. A trip to take. I was on a mission. On a schedule. I had things to do.
It wasn’t until I was pulling out of the driveway – small dog in lap and larger dog on his towel in the backseat, mind you – that I realized I hadn’t felt my hand in a while. I don’t mean, as in reached over and touched it, I mean, there was no feeling. But as I gripped the steering wheel, I had the oddest sensation – like when the dentist shot novacaine in my cheek. I remembered hitting the door. I remembered that I’d never looked to see what I’d done. I glanced down.
My hand had sprouted a golf ball. Under the skin. A couple of hours later, it also hurt like hell. At that point, there was only one thing to do. I panicked. I didn’t care about the darned hand. All I wanted to know was how I was going to type. I started tapping out words against the console of the car in the dark, late at night, as we drove into the outer regions of nowhere. It not only hurt, the thumb and forefinger on my left hand wouldn’t mind me. I guess they were pissed at my lack of regard for them. My lack of appreciation for all of the faithful service. I was scared to death.
Man of my Dreams told me that I’d be fine by Tuesday, which was when I was due back in the office. I waited for streetlights, put my hand up by the windshield so the light would shine down on my hand. Had the swelling gone down any? At Saturday morning’s first light, I was right back at it, looking for any sign of golf ball dissipation. By Saturday night, not only was there no shrinking of my new body part, but I’d become multi-colored as well. I was going to make dinner anyway. We were having chili and we like my chili. Man of my Dreams opened the cans that I requested. I allowed the concession. I stood at our little stove in a hundred year old cabin out in the woods in the middle of nowhere, picked up the newly opened can of kidney beans with smashed hand (because my well hand was busy stirring) and promptly dropped it. Man of my Dreams didn’t get upset with me. Little dog and big dog enjoyed their dinner.
A broken blood vessel was pronounced. Man of my Dreams said it just looked like I had a tan. By Sunday the tan had spread across the back of my hand from thumb to little finger.
And there was nothing I could do to make it stop. I had to accept that I might not be able to type by Tuesday.
Funny thing is, the world didn’t end. As a matter of fact, breath continued to flow in the moment after the realization just as it had in the moment before. People went on with their lives. I stared at my hand. Constantly. Willing it better.
I practiced tapping words on and off all day on Monday. There was some pain. But, hitting only air, I could do it.
Tuesday morning dawned and I approached the office with trepidation. Could I do it? Would I be able to put in the full day’s work, the full week’s work that was required of me? I could deal with the pain, but would the fingers have the ability to apply enough strength to the keys to make letters appear? Could they do it with enough dexterity to type quickly with clarity?
You’re reading this blog, which was the first thing on Tuesday’s agenda. My hand, bless it, blessed me. It hurts to touch it, it looks a bit…tan…but it came through. It continues to feed me. And the blog tour, the books, the work moves smoothly on. Ahhh. All is well.
I got the message, by the way. Nothing, no amount of success, of financial security, or even personal fulfillment is worth more than the people you love.
If I don’t remember to tend to things outside of the books and the blog tour and work, I might lose something much more important than the temporary use of a hand. I could lose the use of my heart.
Or I could lose who is in my heart.
I’m sitting in the office I share with Man of my Dreams, waiting for him to come home, thinking about him, very grateful that I smashed one of the hands that feeds me. I think I just saved the life that feeds me.
This post is brought to you as part of The Chapman Files International Blog Tour. Over the next three months, as we celebrate The Chapman Files, expert witness psychologist, Kelly Chapman and I are going to be asking for help. If you can, join us in our fight against Domestic Abuse. If you’d like to help, click here to go directly to a secure paypal site. Or just comment here to show your support.
There’s an item from our new book, THE SECOND LIE, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: You’ll never find a Mrs. Named after it. Send all guesses to firstname.lastname@example.org. To see previous clues visit blog sites listed at www.tarataylorquinn.com. Guess as many times as you’d like!
Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th at www.eharlequin.com! Tour prize winners will be announced!
E-books of all of The Chapman File Stories are available for pre-order at Amazon.
Next tour stop: Monday, October 11, 2010. Harlequin Books http://harlequinblog.com/. We hope to see you there! The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win! Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for the prize drawings.