by Anne Arthur
No "Hosanna" with a stitched toe.
Good morning, Lord. Today is Palm Sunday. Here I am...sitting at my window, foot on a chair, unable to go to Palm Sunday Mass. My thoughts are twirling. I am wondering why this, just right now as I am preparing to go to Germany and Austria...
Flashback to last Friday.
A beautiful morning. The kids just left for school and kindergarten and I am still sitting at the table with my morning coffee. Golden sunlight is streaming through the living room window. The air is fresh and crisp after last night's early spring rains. The world looks freshly washed and shimmers in bright colors, topped by the bluest sky. I swallow the last piece of pancake, take my cup and step out.
I have to go outside. This morning is just too beautiful to be inside. Standing on the top of the stone-cut stairs I admire the rain puddles on the terrace below. They glitter and sparkle, sun rays dancing on their surface. I descend the uneven stone stairs to admire the plants. They look crisp and stand tall. Some little yellow flowers just opened their buds, my basil plant sends a nice waft of scent my way. The bench is still wet, so I walk from one flower to the next, admiring the new leaves that seem to have sprung to life overnight. I inhale deeply, breathe out, enjoy the spring scents and keep sipping my coffee. This morning is so nice.
I turn to the mountains. They wear little hats of greyish clouds. It will rain again today. Wonderful! We are so much in need of water for our cistern, which is nearly dry. This winter, we had to buy a truck of water twice. The dry season seems to last much longer than usual. But, did it? Or did we just waste too much of the precious liquid? The lack of water greatly affected the garden. Just yesterday, the grass looked yellow, the plants were covered with dust. Except for the bougainvillea. Amazing how they thrive in drought. Lush bushes in pink, red, orange, and white. We planted lots of them and they now cover the garden walls, steadily climbing upwards to meet the sun. Simply beautiful. This morning, the garden looks changed, fresh, alive. Amazing what a night rain can do in the tropics.
Time to go to the gym. I will walk on its roof top. Perched high, the view from up there is stunning. From mountain to city, from valley to sea, the entire country seems to lay under one's foot. Today, after the rain, it will be extraordinarily beautiful. Determined to get to it, I walk up the terrace stairs and before I understand what is happening, my coffee cup is flying high, then smashing to the ground, shattering into many pieces. My foot hurts and I am in disbelief. How did I trip so badly? The guard and the maid come running, pick up the mess, and me.
"Have you hurt yourself?", the guard asks.
"No, I am ok."
"No, you are bleeding, look," replies the maid.
I look down at my flip-flop slowly filling with blood. Turning my foot, I see a deep cut under my big toe.
"Oh no, here goes my roof-top morning walk."
What started as a beautiful morning turns into a nightmare. I bandage the cut, pulling tight to stop the bleeding, and put my foot up. After a while, the pain stops. Good. Seems not too bad.
But whenever I walk on the foot, my shoe fills with blood again.
In the evening, I cannot deny the fact any longer that the toe needs stitches. The wound seems to spread wider with every step I take. It looks horrible. A simple bandage cannot manage this anymore.
The doc stitches.
"Why didn't you come before this turned into such a mess...?"
The doc is a good friend who has seen me through many a mishap and illness. She is doing her best to sew up my toe but since this morning the edges have frazzled out, the skin flap is dying, and she cannot pull it tight anymore.
"In principle, your toe needs a skin graft to cover the wound."
We decide against it, hoping the toe will grow enough new skin on its own to cover the part of the wound that cannot be stitched anymore.
"No walking for 6 days and I mean NO WALKING ON THAT TOE, you hear me? No wetting that foot, and everyday wound care, you understand? I am serious. This is no joke. This wound is serious. If you don't take care of it, you'll have problems walking afterwards. And stop walking your garden in flip-flops. Don't you know they sell shoes?"
Today is Palm Sunday.
Here I am. Foot up, unable to walk except to hobble on its heel to the bathroom. My travel to Europe is scheduled in 18 days. Seminars, lectures, changing cities and countries many times.
Only prayer can get me through this nightmare and the onslaught of all sorts of horror scenarios in my head. Wheelchair at the airport? Crutches? What shoes will I be able to wear? Oh Lord, my God, how am I going to do this?
Today is Palm Sunday.
A beautiful morning, again. I should be in church, palm leaves in hand and singing "hosanna" when entering for mass. Outside my window, the mountains wear white cloud hats again. Blue sky, fresh air, and the songs of an evangelical congregation wafting in from across the valley.
Me too. Hosanna. Somehow, all will settle, even my toe. Lord, I trust in you. After all, Easter is coming.