I’ve never thought of hiking as a dangerous sport. You’re just walking through the woods right? Yet, for one day in this past summer, that proved surprisingly not true.
Middle Tennessee has so many beautiful parks with mountain trails that are just challenging enough for a good workout. The trees are gorgeous any time of year, budding with new life and colorful flowers in the spring, lush and green in the summer, and filled with amazing oranges, yellow and reds in the fall. Even in the winter time when the trees are bare, sometimes its warm enough to put on a light jacket and enjoy even greater views of the barren forest.
This was a particularly hot and sunny summer day with not a cloud in the blue sky. In fact we couldn’t decide if we wanted to go to the pool that Saturday or hike. Finally we decided we’d go hiking to get some exercise and then go relax at the pool. Even though it was very hot that day, it seemed a little cooler up among the shade of the trees than out in the open sunlight.
We were walking along the dirt trail talking about life, our goals and dreams as we often do on our hikes. My husband was out in front as we made out way down the mountain.
Then it happened. I didn’t pick my foot up enough and tripped over a root in the ground flipping me forward. In a nano second my head hit the ground with the left side of my face splatted firmly against the hard dirt. I had no time to break the fall and I’d never hit my head that hard in my life. I thought I had broken out every tooth on the left side of my head and I felt like my left eyeball had exploded.
“Teresa, are you alright?” I heard my husband scream as I lay on the ground. “No, I exclaimed, as I lay there unable to get up. He came over and helped me to my feet. There had been a small jagged tree stump sticking up and the tip of it had sliced my skin open right beneath my eye.” Blood was running down my face and my eye had already began to swell. Realizing how close I had some to putting my eye out by the jagged tree stump, he was thankful it missed my eye, yet extremely concerned that I needed to get to the ER for stitches.
My vision was blurred, My head was excruciating, my face was bleeding and then suddenly out of nowhere came a torrential downpour. What? How could this be happening. There was not a cloud in the blue sky when we started out. How could it be raining like this now? Where did this rain come from? We were at the top of the mountain and on the back side. It would take us at least 30 to 45 minutes to get down. I kept my hand over the cut the best I could to try and keep the rain from hitting it but it was coming down so hard, my efforts were futile. I couldn’t see and now it was hard to breath, too, with the rain falling in my face.
God, did you have to let it rain just now, I thought? Surely, you saw what just happened to me and now I have to deal with this rain on top of it. It was a miserable hike to the bottom and by the time we got there our clothes and shoes were soaked throughout. We got into the car and then immediately it stopped raining. Are you kidding me?
Fortunately, we had beach towels in the car since we had planned on going swimming later that day. Bobby pulled out his backpack and said, “You know, I don’t know why but for some reason I put two shirts in here this morning.” Normally he would just bring one to put on after swimming. I changed my shirt right there in the car and we headed to the hospital.
After a brief visit they sent me away with an antibiotic, and a few pain pills. Turns out I didn’t need stitches after all, but had a mild concussion had fractured my orbit. I didn’t even know I had an orbit, but learned it is the bone that holds the eye in place.
Later that day when my thinking became clearer, I realized that the rain that I had despised, had actually been a blessing. The cold water had surely helped keep the swelling down from the broken bone and kept me cool as well. As hot and humid as it was that day, I could have easily passed out on top of that mountain.
It reminded me that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge God when things happen we don’t understand or expect. We see in part, but He sees the whole picture. Our heavenly father is always looking out for us, even when we don’t realize it.
The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand. Psalm 121:5