I didn't expect 2019 to start out this way. [Understatement of the century] Luke and I started the year leading a Young Life trip to Colorado. He was responsible for making 350 high school kids laugh as he played characters on stage and invited them into the craziest of games; I was the "straight man" he always kicked off stage and the girl belting out power ballads happily by his side. We spent three days learning to snowboard, a dream of ours both. The Benavides family normally sticks to sports in the water and on the ground but we were loving the snow life. It was day three and we were taking our second run of the day on a green before heading to a blue slope. I'd just taken a turn toeside [I was facing up the mountain, my back to base camp] and I heard a terrible sound of my board hitting ice then I began flying backwards faster than I've moved in my entire life. The back edge of my board caught a lip of snow and it sent me careening backwards and down the mountain. Instinct kicked in, I caught myself, and felt two quick snaps.
Shock took over as I ripped all my gear off. No tears anywhere to be seen, just hovering on that crazy edge of blacking out and shock. I got taken down the mountain by the kindest response team in a body bag and prayed the whole ride. Very quickly all traces of pride + independence fled as the doctors came in with a pitying look on their face, reading the words "two broken wrists" off a chart. I laughed my way through the initial days [ENFP + Enneagram 7 over here]. But one day turned to ten and I was told I needed surgery. Any progress I was making in my first casts was reset by the two new metal plates + 14 screws going into my bones. The first two weeks I couldn't carry more than a pound. When I finally got my casts off, I was put into some *super sexy* arm braces to wear for the next month. I saw my arms after 4 weeks of them being wrapped and was floored.
These days there are plenty of things I can hardly recognize. I don't recognize my hands at all. The two hands attached to my arms that can do nothing- they can hold no weight, cannot fully grip the hand of the man I love, are unable to work hard at my passion of photography. They are bruised and discolored, swollen and scarred. They cannot move and to be honest, they scare me. I don't recognize this feeling of complete dependency on others. I don't recognize the rest that I'm supposed to be taking without a fight. I don't recognize when others look to me with pity or sadness that I don't share. I don't recognize that lack of control I feel or the fear that my wrists won't heal to my full capacity. [slightly gruesome photos to follow, trust me there are worse ones too]
In the midst of that, here is what I do recognize. I see the immense strength + grace of a husband who has cared for me for a month without complaint but with all the joy + tender love in the world. I see the generosity of my family who was willing to drop everything to rush and help us. I recognize the blessing of our Dallas, Nashville, Austin, and College Station community who sent us more food than one family could possibly eat to help ease the burden. I see the beauty in relying on others for basic necessities, the joy of marriage, the weeping after being able to put my wedding ring back on my hand, the gift of forever friendships. I see two hands that hold gnarly scars + bruises that will one day lead me to tell the hilarious, amazing, and awful story of flying down a mountain in a body bag and having to hand over all sense of control to Jesus. I see His hand over every moment and am grateful. I know our medical expenses are high, I know I wasn't able to work for two full months, and yet I am grateful to my God for the chance to go through this. It has been humbling, full of challenge and growth. Because of all I don't recognize, I get to see Him even more clearly. This month has been hard and yet somehow more filled with joy than any month I can remember. I am forced to slow down and see, to recognize. And I recognize this: there is beauty to be found in the unexpected moments if only we choose to find it- even if it's in the mess of a shattered, screwed back together, bruised and scarred pair of wrists.