Cheescake

When I woke up that morning, I didn’t think my day was going to be a near disaster.

It was the day of the IBLP Headquarters Valentines Banquet, I was involved, and I was late.
Rushing out the door to go with a friend to get breakfast for the set up crew, I suddenly remembered I had forgotten my list of vital things to do. My job was
head decorator, and the list was almost a page long. I had idiotically left it back home in my bedroom, and I needed it now.

My friend needed something from another house, so on the way back to the Staff Center (where we had stayed decorating until almost midnight the night before,) I hopped out onto the driveway, told her I’d just be a minute, and took off jogging….

Icey DrivewayI have since come to the conclusion that that, was a very, very stupid thing to do.  It was an ice covered driveway on that 12th of February, and towards the middle of that driveway, my jogging feet hit a patch of ice, and my whole body went flying.
“Now look God,” was the first thought in my mind, as I went tumbling down “This isn’t on the schedule!”

Immediately afterward I landed on my left leg with a sickening crunch. Now I was sprawled in an ungainly heap on the driveway. I tried to stand,my left leg buckled underneath me, and I fell back on the ground.

I took stock, and then tried a more spiritual approach.
“Oh God,” I prayed frantically, clutching my injured member “heal my leg! If You can do it with the eggs in Otto Koning’s story, you can do it with me!”
But that didn’t seem to work, because when I tried to stand again… well, let’s just say it hurt, and my leg still wouldn’t support my weight.
My friend ended up having to grab me, help me up, lug me back to her car, and drag me into the Staff Center alone.

Emily's foot“That’s bone,” announced our resident doctor thirty minutes later, tapping the sore area on my leg and shaking his head solemnly  “I’m ninety nine percent sure you broke it”    Broke…. the morning of the Valentines Banquet? Great!  Later on, as I was sitting with an enormous ice filled zip lock bag engulfing my foot and plummeting it to Ice Age temperatures, the rest of me was as hot as the planet Mars.

” God,” I thought to myself “I know I’m usually late for a lot of things— couldn’t this have happened three days from now?!”  Looking gloomily around the room I realized there was no way I could physically accomplish even the smallest part of that list.

It was in that moment, that God began speaking to me.

“Rejoice,” He suggested calmly. “I have a good plan for you in this trial.”              “But Lord!”
“Just Rest,”
“But-!”
“Sit down and Watch. Tell Me… Why did I allow this to happen to you?”

Emily On the couchWhy…
Why indeed.
Well, I had nothing else to do, (except recline helplessly on a couch, stretching every one of the volunteers spirit of Christian charity to the breaking point by doling out responsibilities right and left) so while the pain increased, and decorations flew, I began to wonder what could be the good in what had happened.

I was still thinking as the decorating ended, the banquet began, and I was hustled into the kitchen area, which was the only place they could find to stash me for the night.

There I sat suspended between two chairs for the entire evening,
dressed like a Barbie doll, and looking ludicrous because one ankle was three times the size of the other.

But my Lord had spoken… so, I began to Watch.

WaiterFor the entire night, the single staff workers were continually asking me how I was, making little tisking noises of sympathy when I told them what had happened.   The waiters (who only out of heavenly charity could have forgiven me for dressing them up in the costumes we did) were continually dumping food into my lap, and gravely practicing their menu recitations on me. The people in the kitchen made me gain ten pounds just by feeding me tidbits and snippets from this course and that.

An idea occurred to me, as I watched the kitchen staff through the serving window, as they waved at me while slaving over another course.

If I hadn’t broken my leg, where would the joy of watching, these, my brothers and sisters in Christ, be? The opportunity to be proud of the young people,
Banquet Staffwho rose up to this unusual serving challenge, and performed it  with grace, and dignity, would have been lost to me.

I would have missed all of it, running around like Martha, too busy serving to care about who, or what was truly important.

For a moment I think the crumbling pride hurt worse than my leg.
God didn’t need me, at all… It was a blessing to serve, not a duty with expected praise tagged onto the end.

I was to enjoy His presence, not substitute it for mine.

A look insideAnd so, as every once in a while, through the crack in one of the kitchen doors, I saw the candle lit room where our guests sat,
and heard the pleasant murmur of their voices, I felt that the evening was going to be a success…

I can tell you honestly, that after all of the drama, broken leg and all…

I had a marvelous time. 🙂

~ Emily Oliverio