Take a look at this picture of Cal and me sitting on our front patio. Imagine you are walking by and stop to chat. Which one of us looks like we’ve had a head injury this week?
Would it surprise you to know that both of us hit our heads this week? Or that Cal’s injury, although invisible to the eye, is much worse?
Cal and I decided to take a little bike ride. It seemed like a perfect “socially distant” activity and a chance to get outside for some exercise and much needed fresh air and sunshine.
All was going well until we went through an underpass and Cal hit some muddy water, his bike slipped out from under him, and he went down hard. I quickly knelt down beside him as he lay on the road, unresponsive to my touch or voice. I was even more terrified when he opened his eyes, but just stared straight ahead, unseeing.
Finally, he started to come to. Wonderful people stopped to help, including a visitation by an angel with yellow fingernail polish, a nurse who checked his pupils (good response to the light of her cell phone). She and her equally angelic sister, an occupational therapist, stayed with him while I went to get the car.
Cal and I were both in such shock we didn’t even get their names, so if you think you might know who these angels are, please let us know!
Six hours in the ER gave us confirmation that although he has a concussion, he does not have any bleeding in the brain. That’s a huge relief that things are not even worse! Now we are in “wait and see” mode as this is Cal’s second head injury and their effects are cumulative.
And what about me? My injuries are more visible, but much less likely to cause any long-term damage. Our neighborhood has lovely tree lined streets, old trees with big roots that have uplifted the edges of the sidewalks, and I tripped on one of them while out on an early morning walk. The Instacare doc says my nose is probably broken, but not displaced; my lip is HUGE and painful, but will heal; my pride is slightly wounded, but I’m sure a little humbling is good for all of us every once in a while.
As I sit and ice my face with bags of frozen peas, I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to look at someone and think you can tell what is going on. Like how easy would it be to see my obvious injuries and misjudge Cal’s more serious, but less obvious ones?
In a broader way, how often do we make snap judgments about others with little information about them and their lives? How often do our assumptions (conscious or not) color what knowledge we do have about them and lead us astray?
The ease with which we jump to wrong conclusions without a solid understanding is behind many of the racist, sexist, ageist, or whatever else -ist thoughts, conclusions, and feelings that pervade so much of our existence.
We invite you to join us as we seek to inspire ourselves, our children and our grandchildren to look deeper beneath the surface, seek to know each other more fully and avoid a rush to judgment.
Here's to Failing Forward Together,
Anne and Calvert
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