Purging. Cleaning out. Check list. Get it done. Focus, Ashley. Oh, look! (Smile spreads across my face.)
My summer days at home have looked and felt a lot like this. I have felt the need to try to get organized. I hate it. I am easily overwhelmed by stuff. I've never been good at organization. My dad is organized to the extreme. He raised me. It didn't take. His closet is pristine, a color-coded array of bliss - until I come along and put a white shirt right in the middle of all the blue shirts. You either love me or hate me, and I'm his daughter, he loves me.
I have realized the other 5 people who live in my house might just benefit from some organization. So, it is my duty to try harder! This keeps me going for about 10 minutes, then it's back to external motivation. I use music, bowls w/pieces of paper telling me what to do, dance breaks, starting 3 rooms at a time and going back and forth when I get bored, and then there are treasures. Finding treasures is one sure way to get me to stay put in one place for an extended period of time.
My latest task was our linen cabinet in our bathroom. That thing is huge and endless. You can put your hand in to reach something in the back, and pull out 1988 - yes, the whole year. So, for someone like me, this says, "Put that in here. Still more room. Put that in here, too. You don't know what to do with that, still plenty of room in here! I want it! Give it to me!" Maybe your linen closets don't speak to you, but everything speaks to me.
This thing houses our towels, our bed linens, and an array of things you would find in a medicine cabinet, make-up counter, hair studio, and cleaning supplies cabinet, with miscellaneous items as well. A few months ago one of the shelves caved. Um, I could still get to what I needed, so it sat crooked for those months and I went on with life. No more. I attacked. This battle was long and arduous. Too many sheets were threatening to overtake my joy. Baskets, whose intended purposes were to organize, overflowed with an array of non-related jokers trying to confuse me. What would have taken a normal person an hour, took me 3 days of walking away to "finish it later" and about 3 hours of "I will win this battle TONIGHT!" determination. So, I did win. The battle is over.
Amidst the rubble I did find some treasures - prenatal vitamins, um, and EPT stick still in the wrapper (I might have had some fun with Randy with this), those sexy fish net panties you get from the hospital after you have a baby (I might have had an obsession with these), and then this bracelet. Oh, how it took me back.
I sat in our little blue denim rocker giving baby Asa his bottle. Both precious angel girls were taking a nap at the same time on my bed. (hallelujah!) The phone rang. I clicked the button, and before I said, "Hello?" I heard a guttural yell, which I knew belonged to my husband.
My heart went into my stomach as I said his name. He then spoke quickly, trying to be calm and keep me calm, giving me as much information as he could, while he was in pain and soon shock, that I just can't even imagine. "I've had an accident. I've called David, and he is on his way. I have a forklift in my leg. I can hear the ambulance." I was confused, but informed strangely. I cried a little as I said, "Oh, Randy! Are you by yourself?" He told me he was, but that David said Jeff was close and he would be there any minute. He needed to get off the phone. I knew this.
I began talking out loud to Jesus. I called David, Randy's boss. He was in front of the ambulance, and I could hear it in the background. He would call me when he got to him and knew more. He didn't call me back fast enough, so I called him back. David told me that he was talking, and he looked good. He said it was serious, but he would be okay. At this point, I'm thinking the forklift had fallen over on him somehow and that something was in his leg. Nope. The blade of the forklift broke off while Randy was in the cab of the bobcat. When it broke, it impaled his leg. As the blade broke skin and began crushing his muscle, the weight of the blade caused Randy's foot to press the accelerator, which caused the impalement to go even deeper. We would learn later that the blade was just a couple of inches from his femoral artery, which would have been fatal. David said he would call me when they knew which hospital he was going to. When I got the call from David, he told me that the Lifesaver helicopter had been called, and they would be taking him to UAB.
Lifesaver. I knew this was serious business. My knees should have buckled, but they didn't. I wanted to panic, but I couldn't. I needed to go. I called my friend, Michelle. She is the reason Randy had a toothbrush, clean underwear, and clothes. She prayed for Randy and for me. She talked to me as I gathered things for him. She told me what to do. I love her.
Next, I had to call Randy's mama. She was an hour and a half away, and I wished I could fly to her and tell her this news, but I couldn't. I knew this was going to be so hard for her and Papaw because no one wants to receive news like this over the phone, much less have to drive that distance to get to their son. I did the best I could on the phone with her. I told her everything I knew, and that he talked to me. This was a great comfort for all of us. My dad came and got me and Bebe stayed with the kids.
All I could think was that I wanted to see his face. I would know so much when I could look at his eyes, and his countenance. A longing was stirring, and I just wanted to be there. My thoughts were interrupted by my daddy's voice. It said, "Now, Ashley, Randy didn't plan for this to happen. He didn't do this on purpose, so you don't have to yell at him." I looked at my daddy, and for the first time, I laughed out loud! He was really worried that I was going to let Randy have it when I saw him! Little did he know what I was really thinking. I promised my daddy that I would not yell at my husband.
We arrived at the hospital before Randy did. Lifesaver did come, but Randy could not ride in it because, get this, they needed him to sit up and help HOLD the blade that was in his leg. WHAT?!?! He was helping to keep the pressure off that artery and they NEEDED him to be able to do this. So, he rode in the ambulance, down 280 in 5:00 traffic. Our pastor, Tim Evans, was already there when we arrived. We love that man, too. Finally, his ambulance arrived. I had received my "training" in where to stand and what to do when the EMT's brought him inside. I could see the back of him, and then they wheeled him around. I could see the doors open and then his face. It was lit up like a redneck yard at Christmas! Huge smile across his face, as he said, "Did you bring the camera?!" I almost broke my promise to my daddy. I was not thinking about a stupid camera.
My crazy husband was okay!!!!! I saw him briefly and had to wait again. We both are gore seekers, so he begged the nurses to let me come back before they wheeled him to surgery. Oh my goodness! I got to see amazingness. At that point I wished I HAD brought the camera. It was truly unbelievable.
He came through surgery like a champ. He had a week's stay in the hospital, and 1/4 of his muscle removed. He completed his physical therapy and has never even limped. He is a reminder that the Lord is gracious and mighty, and this man I'm married to is full of His favor.
Twelve years ago God saved my husband from physical death. Last night as I won the battle, He reminded me of so much. Randy and I are created so differently. I love to encourage and to be encouraged. He loves to point out all the things that still need to be done instead of what I did such a good job on today. ;) He loves to do. He is creative and hard working and is always looking for what he can do next. I love to sit down and talk and hide from whatever is next on the to-do list. I think about more things, he does more things. Sometimes it's very hard, but I truly am glad we are in this together. I can honestly say there is no one I would want to do this with besides him. Somedays, if I had a magic wand, I would definitely get him to do things my way, but so would he.
So, Randy's theme song is "What a Man" by Salt n Peppa. Like, I just hear it in my head when he walks in the room. Sometimes I can get him to play along and flex for me, but that is rare. I love this guy! I don't always like him, but that's okay. I treasure that bracelet because it reminds me of second chances, and that my husband can still hold me close and dance with me, when I make him.
We all need these little treasures to pop up and remind us as we reminisce on the good and the bad times in our lives. If I hadn't been doing something I dread, I wouldn't have found it and had this little reminder. What really matters in your life? What can you cling to? If you need something to cling to, rather someone, Jesus is there. He never goes away. We do. He is always ready. It's never too late.
Expectant with camera ready,