Sunday, October 14, 2012
Of Accidents, Emergency Rooms, and Letting Go of Anger
Sometimes, things have to explode for you to take a moment to pause. Sometimes those things are hot, sugary shards of glass that embed themselves in your skin. Let me explain.
Yesterday, an accident in the kitchen involving a Pyrex of cinnamon rolls set on the wrong burner (I meant to heat the tea kettle, and accidentally set the front burner to high) sent glass all over my tiny kitchen and into my right hand and forearm. I let out a string of incredibly creative expletives just as my friend Joe showed up for our afternoon music session. I told him we were going to the emergency room instead.
The lacerations were minor, the burns second degree, but it still hurt like fire in my veins. After the emergency room, Joe and I hunkered down with Thai food and British comedies. My apartment still smelled like delicious cinnamon rolls. I fell asleep trying to keep my arm propped up, like the nurse had told me to.
Joe was a champion, going above and beyond his friend duties. He kept one arm around me as we drove, cleaned my kitchen while I called my people to tell them what happened, and helped me redress my wounds before bed. Earlier in the week, we had gotten into a disagreement, and when I spoke to him about it in the moment, I felt my teeth grind, my heart pound, my voice tip into that strained octave. By the next day, I felt fine. I had let go being angry, and after a quick conversation, we were right back where we had started.
Two years ago, I would have let that anger burn. It would have smoldered into a resentment, possibly ending our friendship. I used to have no patience. I would cut people out of my life for minor offenses, but held on to toxic friendships that fed my addiction to victimhood and perceived power. Now, however, I'm able to practice "live and let live." If I had held on to that anger, Joe wouldn't have been there.
These cuts and burns will heal, and one day I'll gain full mobility of my hand. I'll always remember to check the burners, and I'll be forever grateful to my friend who was there in such a stellar way. Lessons learned.