I’ve had one of those “that stuff happens to OTHER people and not to me” experiences. I was beat up and left for dead by a criminal – hmmmm.
I can honestly say that I never thought of that sort of thing as happening to me. I’ve certainly read about such things, and seen movies and CSI shows about such things. But to actually be a real live player in an actual event has taken my personal reality over to the surreal.
They put me in a coma for the first two weeks. So, I laid in a hospital bed and thrashed about, uttering vile commands and “let me go”. I tried coercing Natalie to “take me home”. I still have the scars on my wrists from where they tied me up – well actually – from where I pulled against the restraints.
From my perspective, I fully lived those two comatose weeks, going about life as – well I can’t say “as normal” – but I was unaware of the fact that I was tied up in a hospital bed. I carried on my life, complete with good times and bad. I even came up with a tourism marketing strategy that I may even implement once I get back into the swing of things.
So I use the expression “when I arrived” instead of “when I came out of the coma”. I really thought that at about week number two I had driven up to the hospital and checked in. Granted I would be hard pressed to explain the “why” behind my “checking in”, but that’s just a slight inconvenience of the tale. I checked in and they were working on me in ICU.
It was at this time that I started hearing about the support from family, friends and community.
As I began to grasp what had actually happened, and that my recollection of my recent personal history was in fact flawed, and the reality of what had actually happened set in, the surreal was taken to a new level. The effect of this new level was not due to having been a player in a violent drama, but what was particularly surreal was the amount of love and support that was coming my way. Frankly, it was difficult to believe and I, at first, felt that the ones reporting The Love were just being nice.
I know that at some point I’m going to have to deal with the event. That night, chasing the thief – catching him after a relatively high speed car chase, fighting, and riding the ‘flight to life’ to CIMA (a mighty fine hospital in San José), extreme pressure on the brain, skull and jaw reconstruction surgery.
Oddly, these happenings just aren’t taking that much of my mind-time. Sure, I get recall flashes that make me suck in, alarming anyone in my immediate space. But by comparison to the much greater picture, these are low-level-events.
The “Greater Picture”, is the family, friends and community support which turned out to be Global in its reach.
My father was a doctor in Davis California. He was well loved in that university town among both college students and residents alike. He was a care-giver who genuinely loved people and seemed to only have the capacity to focus on the good in people. One of the few Father / Son lessons that I remember from him was: “son, when they lay you in your grave, and you’re looking up, if you see three faces peering down at you, faces of people that you would call genuine friends, you’ll be able to say that you lived a good life.”
Well, in a sense, I did die and I did look up. But there weren’t three faces. There was, in fact, no daylight when I looked up, so numerous were the faces.
So I’ve had time to think about all this, and as a result I’ve come up with what I call My Sermon, and you dear reader, get to hear/read it (should you choose to continue reading). My sermon started as a title and grew from there.
The Trauma Did Not Create the Love
Acceptance was the first step for me. As I mentioned, I felt that they were just encouraging me with “everybody is rooting for you and hoping you’ll get better.” My grasping the reality that there were a lot of folks out there moved by what had happened to me and were taking action to help me pay my medical bills, and support me in whatever way they could – acceptance started to take shape.
To put this in the vernacular of video gaming, acceptance was the first level. The next level was understanding what was, for me, a new perspective on my fellow man.
Here in Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone, we expats live a uniquely communal lifestyle. There is very little that goes on that doesn’t become known to the rest of the community. We eventually get to know most of the other full time and part time residents by face recognition or, for the more astute among us – by name.
So, in keeping with this model, I had/have my inner circle of friends that I regularly do stuff with – conversations, exercise, lunch at The Dome, an evening at Cuna de Angel, Toby & Kim’s Movies In The Jungle and so on. Then there are People Rings, emanating out from the core, and I’m always happy to see the familiar faces, in fact it is one of the aspects of life in the zone that I feel rather smug about. It’s like Old Tyme, Good Ole U. S. of A Small Town Living around here. You can’t walk into a restaurant, say Frank & Naomi’s Casoña María in Uvita, without being greeted by name and then greeting the diners at the other tables since they are friends and you are genuinely happy to see them.
I don’t believe for one second that my traumatic event resulted in, or caused the existence of any love, but rather, I feel that it gave expression to love that already existed amongst my family, friends and community. I will say however that I was truly unaware of just how much love was available in our community until my event.
I’m fascinated – the drama continues…