Doctors at the clinic are calling it a modern miracle. The doctors, and even the nurses, simply could not believe the mobility Tammy now had in her good sewing shoulder, considering it was a complete rotator cuff tear. The examining physician, a strict man of science, had to go back and check the MRI twice, having difficulty accepting what he could not explain.
The clinic’s medical staff weren’t the only people dumbfounded by her progress. Upon hearing the happy news about the rotator cuff, I couldn’t believe it either because I had witnessed the carnage on that unforgettable day. She was in a bad way that first night and the days that followed.
It was a day like any other day, except for it being my birthday. I was watching TV, trying hard to be patient as I waited for my birthday dinner. When all the sudden I heard a loud crash and a thunderous boom. Startled by the unexpected sounds, I shouted, “What in the name of creation was that?!” Slippping out of the security and comfort of the recliner and I found Tammy lying at the bottom of the stairs. In one hand, she was still holding on, white knuckled, to her 2-in-1 laptop while using her other hand to rub out the bump on her precious dome.
Full of compassion and good works, I gave 110% as I helped Tammy up off the floor and ever so gently walked her over to her favorite spot on the couch by her Sudoku books. Grimacing with intense pain, she could barely lift her arm. Ceaselessly vigilant, I went to the freezer and grabbed an ice pack and found the bottle of expired Naproxen I had left over from that time I threw out my back. I focused all my energies on comforting Tammy, holding out a small sliver of hope that she’d still make something for my birthday dinner. Nothing special, maybe a quesadilla or two.
As things calmed down, Tammy recounted to me how she fell down the stairs. It began with some lotioning of her feet with Jergens original scent, followed with putting on a comfortable pair of no-show liner socks. When she decided to come down stairs our feral cat was sitting on the intermediate landing meowing (not in a charming way). Being no stranger to multi-tasking, Tammy reached down and grabbed Ziggy with her free hand. With a laptop in one hand and a wildcat in the other, she short-stepped the next step after the landing and before she could say Jack Robinson she was at the bottom of the stairs writhing in pain.
I am not going to lie my faith was challenged when Tammy fell and I found myself asking some hard questions. For example, was the fall a result of some flaw in Tammy’s moral character? This I investigated. I watched her face intently as she watched TV, I read her recent journal entries, and I followed her to Hobby Lobby several times (I finally had to stop, I couldn’t keep up). I even called up some of the more gender-neutral names in her phone. And it turned out that Pat, Phil and Blake are not guys. She was clean and I felt ashamed for even entertaining the possibility that she had any serious moral defects.
To ask this question in the first place was just a plain dumb. Of course, she was above suspicion. Furthermore, I don’t believe God, as a matter of course, curses any individual, group, or sports teams. God doesn’t have to curse us. We do a first-rate job at that for ourselves.
It was childish for me to be asking silly existential questions over something so minor as Tammy’s fall. Neither her moral flaws, nor mine were the cause of her fall. Even if morality and misfortune are somehow entwined, my mortal eyes would never be able to pick out where one ends and the other one starts. Plus, my job is not to make those judgements.
The existential exercise, however, was not all in vain. The questioning did make it crystal clear to everyone and their mother’s brother that the cat was 100% to blame for Tammy’s fall as I had suspected from the beginning. But, I have been told to let this because after all I should be over the moon about her progress so far. It could have been worse, so much worse.