“I choose to live each day, fully in charge of my thoughts and aligned with the Divine.”

“Oh my God, does that ever hurt,” I thought without uttering a sound.  I became aware that I was now laying flat on my back on my garage floor.  Then it came to me: I was in the middle of unpacking a new arching floor lamp and the weighted base must have fallen out of the carton and struck me on the foot. Much later, I learned the base weighed 25 pounds, and determined it fell from about five and a half feet high.

“Man, I think I hurt my big toe really bad,” was my next thought. Raising myself up, I could see blood oozing through my white workout sock. Reaching for my big toe, I gently squeezed it only to hear the crackle of crushed bones.

“Yep, this is bad. I need to call someone for help because I’m all alone in the house and this is more than a band-aid thing.”  Hopping to the phone, I called my next door neighbor. He was there in less than a minute and found me in the garage, back on the floor where I had fallen.

We quickly ascertained that medical help was needed and called 9-1-1. As John comforted me while we waited for the EMTs to arrive, I began feeling angry. First with myself for not being more careful, then with my wife for not being there when I really needed her, and finally with the company that didn’t pack the lamp with clearly visible warnings.

Then suddenly my personal spiritual practice kicked in. I recalled my training in Unity Principles from all those Spiritual Education and Enrichment classes. It hit me like a cosmic two-by-four.  “Hey Bob, reframe your thinking about this circumstance. Align your thoughts with Divine Order and affirm that all is well regardless of the appearance.”

While these might not be the exact words I heard, they accurately represent the thoughts that formed in my consciousness. I was in physical pain, yet I began to feel a warming inner peace emerging from within my being and spreading through my consciousness. In the moment I began releasing my worries, my anger, and my fears, I experienced peace with where I was and what was now to be for me as a whole being with an injured toe.  “Wow,” I thought to myself, “all this inner work, personal reflection, and spiritual practice really work!” But wait, there is more to the story.

The firefighters arrived first, followed soon by the EMT crew. As they arrived, the same conversation happened with each group.

“So, you must be the guy with the hurt big toe,” spoken in a slightly joking tone.

“Yep, it’s me. It really hurts.”

Coming closer, “Well let’s take a look at this big toe to see. Oh, wow buddy! That’s not good at all. Let’s get you some pain meds.”

“Yeah, that would be good. It really hurts,” I replied.

The lead EMT added one additional line. “He needs a trauma center, orthopedics, vascular, soft tissue damage. Let’s get going.”

You might be asking yourself right about now, “How does he remember this much detail?”  The answer is this: Using the Unity Principles I had learned, I was able to compartmentalize the pain from the injury and park it to the side. As I did, I was able to remain fully aware and engaged with those who were there to help me. It may sound corny, but I can recall these events with absolute clarity because the entire episode ultimately proved to be a spiritual epiphany for me.

Soon, I was in the emergency room.  When the surgeon on duty arrived, the same conversation that had taken place with the firefighters and EMT crew happened all over again.  When he lifted the sheet from my foot to examine the injury, he added a new observation to the running conversation.

“This IS a significant injury.  I don’t see injuries like this very often.  It looks like the force of the blow crushed your big toe and simultaneously burst open the skin at the end of the toe like a balloon. But I’m just the right guy to help you.”  It just so happened he was an orthopedic foot specialist. I promise you, I am not making this up.

He continued, “I’m not sure the toe can be saved, but we’re going to try. Let’s get some x-rays and prep the operating room.”

Fast forwarding to post surgery, as I was about to be released to go home, Dr. C.  said to my wife, “Mrs. Withrow,  I’ll see Bob in three days and I’ll know then whether he’ll get to keep his toe or not. Pink flesh is good, grey is not.”

Three days later was Thanksgiving morning, 2014. Dr. C. unwrapped my bandages and exclaimed, “I can’t really believe it. It’s totally pink. You’re going to keep your big toe after all.” I’m not exaggerating one bit when I tell you that he did a little one man victory dance around the examination room. Much later, Dr. C. told me that he had assessed the chances of me keeping the toe at only about 25%.

Now it’s 2018, almost four years since the “Monday Before Thanksgiving Accident,” MBTA for short. My toe is not perfect, but it’s nearly fully functional. My toenail looks more like a claw. I use a Dremel rotary tool to trim it. It’s okay, you can laugh. It’s funny.

Dr. C. and I keep in touch. I send him a Thanksgiving card each year.  I chuckle each time I address it, because it’s such a perfectly named holiday for our kinship.  I’ve since become a Licensed Unity Teacher and I know that the MBTA helped me to realize and reinforce my spiritual practice.

“I choose to live each day, fully in charge of my thoughts and aligned with the Divine.”

Blog The Parable of The Big Toe