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It was not how I had planned the day would turn out, not in my weirdest dreams.  The girls and I made a spontaneous decision to go to Six Flags because we had a family pass and we could.  It was still summer and since John was working we headed out the door, just the four of us.  Of course, every good amusement park aficionado knows you should visit the bathroom before starting your adventure around the park so that’s what we did.  First thing through the gate we visited the nearest ladies’ room.  We were pumped.  Roller coasters and log rides, here we come!   If I remember correctly, Kimmi was 10, Kaitlin 8 and Krissy 6.  As I walked into the bathroom stall I closed the door by holding onto the top of the door and pulling it closed without noticing that there was a bar across the top of the doorway.  I smashed one of my fingers.  It hurt!  Wow, did it hurt.  I sat down and thought to myself, “I’ll be fine.  The pain will pass.  This is no big deal.”  I shook my hands, rubbed the sore finger, and then started getting light-headed.  “It’s nothing, really, I’m fine!” I told myself and refused to put my head down, thinking surely the fuzziness and purple sparklies now filling my vision would vanish.  I finished and walked out toward the sink to wash my hands.  The next thing I knew I was lying on the floor and a lady was gently shaking my shoulder saying, “Ma’am, are you okay?  Ma’am?”  I tried to push up off the floor with my hands but I was all shaky.  I looked up to see my girls standing over me with wide eyes and very worried looks on their faces and several women nearby looking to see what had happened.  I had passed out.  My body evidently didn’t get the message that I was passing out so after I washed my hands, it had turned and walked straight into the tile wall at the other end of the bathroom and then fallen dead weight onto the floor.  I have no recollection of that!  How crazy I must have looked.  As I sat up and looked at my daughters, my middle girl (the more sensitive of the 3) burst into loud tears, clearly afraid.  I had smacked face first into the wall so my glasses had cut my nose and now there was blood running down my nose and cheek.  I was so disoriented!  It took me a little while to realize what had happened.  Someone had called security because a nice lady in uniform walked in, helped me up and ushered me over to a wheelchair.  Another security guard stayed with the girls while they whisked me to the first aid building.    Once there, laying on a small cot, the nurse was cleaning my wound and putting a Band-Aid on it.  She asked what happened but when I tried to explain I burst into tears.  How embarrassing!  I’m sure that was mostly due to shock…and the fact I had just made a spectacle of myself in the ladies’ room at Six Flags in front of my girls who were surely now traumatized.

The rest of the day was subdued to say the least.  For some reason we weren’t so peppy and jazzed about the rides as we were before the bathroom “incident.”  I felt pretty conspicuous and was still a little weak from it all.  There was one particularly awkward moment when we sat in one of those cage-like cars on a big ferris wheel across from two little girls who stared at my bandaged nose the whole ride looking concerned and not saying a word.

When we got home, my girls seemed to delight in reenacting the whole event for John, complete with pantomiming what I looked like walking into the wall.   If I had only put my head down when I felt light-headed!  The pain and feeling faint would have faded away and wouldn’t have delayed our fun day that much.

I’ve learned that this concept applies to all aspects of my life.  When something hurts, it doesn’t help or get me further down the road to ignore it, stuff it, or try to just push past it and think it will go away.  I’ve done that many times and end up smacking into an emotional wall and wondering what hit me.  Painful stuff left unsorted stalls me, delays me, and holds me back.  I need to admit, “This hurts!”  “I need to rest a while” or  “I need help.”   And no use thinking I shouldn’t feel a certain way if that’s how I really feel.  That just throws guilt on top of the pile of all the other stuff.  I have to be gut honest, acknowledge what’s really going on and ask God to help me work through it so I can find healing and the hurt won’t come back to haunt me or trip me up.   I don’t believe in dwelling in hurt, but we have to own it, feel it, learn something from it and then leave it as we walk on past.  It shouldn’t be ignored.

And I always use the handle when I close bathroom stall doors now.