“The Good, the Bad and the Painful,” column for Tues., July 19, 2016

Recently I wrote a column in which I addressed the question, “What’s this world coming to?”

Basically, I said, despite the horrors we hear about daily, the world remains a “mostly good” place. Bad things happen, but good things happen, too, far more good than bad. It’s a matter of perspective, how we choose to look at it.

As I finished that column, I could almost hear my mother say, ‘You forgot to add ‘Lord willing and knock on wood!’ ”

If you aren’t familiar with the term, I’ll try to explain it, but don’t expect it to make sense. The first part, of course, is just a way of saying, “God’s will be done.” The second part is an old superstition, a silly belief that if you say something is good _ your health or luck or life in general _ you need to “knock on wood” or the good thing you noted might soon turn to bad.

It has to be wood. Plastic or metal won’t work. And you have to do it right away, while saying the words, “Knock on wood.”

Far be it from me to put faith in superstition. But I am my mother’s daughter and nobody’s fool and, well, why tempt fate? I might’ve said, “Lord willing and knock on wood.” But I forgot.

And the very next day _ as a coincidence, I’m sure, not a consequence _ I tripped on my shoe, twisted my ankle and broke two bones in my foot.

It was one of those bad things that happen to all of us. But it happened to me. And there was not one good thing about it.

Except it could’ve been worse. Instead of my foot, it might’ve been my head. And it didn’t require surgery or a cast. Just a big ugly boot with 40 Velcro straps to wear day and night, while also using a wheelchair, for six to eight weeks.

And just like that, in the twinkling of an eye and the twisting of an ankle, I stopped being someone who could walk and drive and do as she pleased, more or less, and never liked asking for any kind of help.
It’s a sobering experience to suddenly lose something you’ve always taken for granted.

My brother is blind and suffers from cerebral palsy. It shames me to admit he has complained less in all his years than I have in this past week.

Fortunately for me, help is in good supply. My husband has outdone himself, proving to me and to anyone who wondered, why exactly I married him. How he’ll hold up for another seven weeks remains to be seen.

Friends and family have also offered to help, though they live miles away, and it’s hard to send a tuna casserole by mail. My kids and grandkids call or text or FaceTime to check on me and the sound of their voices and the photos they send are almost as good as pain pills.

My daughter and her 4 year old flew from California to spend a few days with us.

“I’m sorry you broke your foot, Nana,” Henry said. “I’m going to take really good care of you.”

And indeed he has (when he isn’t shooting water cannons in the pool or watching cartoons with Papa Mark.) Today we played hide ‘n’ seek, just the two of us. Henry hid in all sorts of good places, but I found him every time. That’s what nanas do, even with a broken foot.

My turn to hide posed a problem. Where exactly does a woman in a wheelchair hide?

“Here, Nana,” Henry said, handing me a sweater. “Roll away some place, then put this over your head and wait for me to come find you!”

I wheeled myself behind a chair, threw the sweater over my head and sat like a stump waiting for Henry to find me. He took his time, pretending not to notice the nana-sized elephant in the room. When he ran off to pretend to search the bedrooms, I wasn’t worried. I knew, sooner or later, he would find me.

Bad things happen, but good things happen, too, far more good than bad.

Love will always find us. Lord willing and knock on wood.


  1. Flo (NOT from that insurance sompany!!) says

    Sharon, I was so sad to open the paper this morning and learn that you lost your little brother. Our younger sibs are supposed to lose us, not the other way around. And then not able to join the farewell gathering–I am so sorry for your pain and loss. My brother, 25 years older than me, passed away July 30. We knew it was coming soon, even prayed that it would happen sooner so he would suffer less from the cancer, but there is still a gaping hole in our lives and we are preparing to drive the 700 miles to his memorial service and share our tears and laughter as a family.
    I have said for years that we are kindred spirits through the written word and have always meant to “get around to it” when it came to expressing my appreciation for your stories and the memories you stir up to share with our families. I finally found my “round tuit” and wish it was under happier circumstances.
    God be with you, and please continue to share your life with us and stir us up to good works. Hugs all around!!

  2. Vickie Hale says

    Sorry for your injury. Here is SW VA (Marion) the saying is “if the good Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise.

  3. sydney love says

    Sharon, I am so sorry for your accident. I will be praying for a speedy recovery. Yes, you always know how to make the best of any situation. You will be back to driving and all the things you love to do in no time. Take care.

  4. Marion Ingber says

    Only you can make your tale of a broken foot fun to read! My wishes for a speedy and complete recovery and all sorts of wonderful reading you’ll have the time to provide us.

  5. Erin Newton says

    So sorry to hear about your foot, Sharon. I’ve also worn one of those boots and I totally sympathize. Keep looking ahead. I took an art class to keep my mind busy, it really helped. So glad you have so much help and love around you. Like you said, love will always find us. Lord willing and knock on wood. Take care!

  6. Shashi Saini says

    I remember that post, you were attending a phone call and hurt your foot .
    Wish you good health ! Touching a table, Yes, it is made of wood .Thank you for a new post !

  7. So sorry to hear of your accident. I ran across this quote today, and it seems so fitting:

    “If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadness, not my miscarriages or my father leaving home, but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough.”
    ― Audrey Hepburn
    Take care and get well soon!

  8. Sharon, so sorry to hear of your accident! It sounds like you are in good hands and making the best of a bad situation. Hang in there and take care of yourself.

    I always enjoy reading your words.

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