1. Kathy Myers

    A lesson in humility

    “Heavenly Father, why do you let bad things happen?
    More to the point, why do you let bad things happen to me?” Elder Price/ The Book of Mormon/the musical

    Poor Elder Price. He’s been plunked down in Uganda with a phlegmatic mission brother, had his suitcase stolen, and witnessed a man getting shot in the head. After leading a righteous life for all of his nineteen years, he was expecting an assignment to his dream mission in Orlando, not this spooky Mormon hell on earth.
    After sixty-three semi-righteous years of living, I rewarded myself with a trip to New York with my sister Laurie and cousin Bonnie. We rented an apartment on tree lined West 71st, had tickets for the hottest show on Broadway, and a long list of things we wanted to do during our weeklong stay. I was completely prepared for every aspect of the trip: details from tour books, Internet searches, and timetables. I knew the exact distance across Central Park (1.5 miles per Google Earth) and cab fare from JFK ($45.00 plus tip).
    Our first day walk to the Metropolitan Museum was a sensory delight: tulips on parade in the sunshine, a saxophone serenade at Bethesda fountain and acres of magnificent art. Standing atop the steep granite steps looking down at 5th Ave, I was filled with pride at having planned such a perfect day. I was full of it until my heel caught an edge and I stumbled forward, arms flailing, careening around the step sitters—nothing to stop my momentum except the last step where I fell face first with a loud crack. Now I was full of embarrassment. They all must think I’m a klutz. I heard screams and shouts as I sat up and realized embarrassment was the least of my problems. My tearful sister held me as I was examined by a convenient French tourist/M.D. I was pleased that I could answer all his questions correctly, and make my pupils respond equally, but I was really concerned about all the blood loss on my new white blouse. Blood on cotton is a bitch to get out.
    The fall knocked the wind out of me and knocked some sense into me. I was a little less arrogant about being master of my domain, queen of my castle, as I was wheeled into Lennox Hill E.R. But as I waited for my CT scan, I hatched another perfect plan— a mission of a one day recovery so the trip would not be ruined for Laurie, Bonnie and, more to the point, me.
    Wednesday it rained—great weather when you must stay home sick. So far, so good. I sent the girls to shop at the new Ralph Lauren store, and spent my day with Vicodin, cold compresses and long naps. By evening I showered, washed the dried blood from my hair and had a home cooked meal. Mission accomplished.
    The next morning, in my jackie O glasses and a slather of concealing makeup, I was ready to be a tourist again; to cruise Manhattan, lunch in Greenwich village, and see a hit Broadway musical. The sky was as clear as my new sense of awareness that — just like Elder Price had learned— nothing is perfect, you can’t plan for everything, and bad things will happen.I had survived last Tuesday and was rewarded with a perfect day— this latter day Thursday.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Oh, Kathy. I LOVE your writing. You make me smile. You make me laugh. You brighten my day. Now, I want to go to New York with you! See what mischief we can get into.

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