Fingers and Toes
Business was slow at SWESCO. My title as purchasing agent/inventory clerk for the small company was longer than my duties. Day after day, I was bored and frustrated trying to find enough to do to keep me busy. So, when a semi- trailer backed up to the warehouse just as I was about to eat lunch, I was elated. Since the loading dock was lower than the bed of the semi-trailer, I had to hitch a long chain to the wood pallets in the truck, attach the other end to the fork lift, and pull the load to the back of the truck, so I could unload it. Well this time, the wood pallet was not only at the very back of the trailer, it was shattered into hundreds of splinters. The truck driver had no idea how it happened I was going to have to unload it all by hand. It was not a big deal; after all, I had all the time in the world. I had no need to hurry. The biggest box was busted up pretty bad. It contained a heavy hose reel that was mounted on a thick steel plate. It was wide enough that I had a hard time getting my hands around the tattered box. Just as I entered the warehouse, the bottom of the box gave way. The reel slipped out and smashed my right foot into the concrete floor. Ouch!!! Nothing had ever hurt as bad as that. I tried to walk it off by putting my weight on my right heel. The pain abated. I decided to unload the rest of the truck so the driver could get on with his day.
Once the task was finished, I decided the pain was too unbearable. I hobbled to the boss’s front office. I sat down and took off my shoe. My boss/father-in-law jumped to his feet when I pulled off my shoe. My white tube sock was soaked in blood and the end of my big toe was nearly smashed off. He ran and got into the truck. As he pulled up to the door, I hopped out and jumped in. I was calm but very embarrassed. My father-in-law was frantic and drove fast. He ran every red light to the hospital. It just so happened that every light was red.
At the hospital, they removed the sock and x-rayed the foot. The nurse told me that I was way too calm about all this. She said that most people with injuries far less than this were screaming and crying. She was afraid I was going into shock. The doctor was, too, and I was given a shot of morphine. I insisted that I was just fine and more mad at myself than hurting. They told me that were going to remove what was left of my big toe. I asked them to reconsider. So, they sewed my big toe back on, and I have it to this day.
The next day at home with my foot propped up, I was still mad at myself and more bored than ever. So, I decided to call home from Texas to Ohio and tell them about my ordeal. After I finished with my story, my dad said, “What time did this happen?” “Yesterday, right at noon,” I replied. Then he told me that at one o’clock (that would have been noon in Texas) he left his desk and went out to check a newly designed underground boring machine that was ready to ship out. He noticed something strange about a chain being used to anchor the machine to the bed of the truck. Just as he reached under to check it out with his hand the load shifted and crushed off the first joint of his ring finger. He went in to tell his boss about it. He was very calm. His boss went berserk. He brought his pick-up around and rushed my dad to the hospital. Every light was red. They, too, ran every red light. Unfortunately, they could not sew his finger back on. The nurse and doctors were also amazed at how well my dad was handling the situation.
What an odd coincidence! It was not spectacular enough to make it into Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Coincidences do happen. There is no need to make a big deal out of them. However, there was a lesson this can teach us all. No matter how difficult and unusual your trials, temptations or pain may be, you are not so unique that you stand alone. Everyone has stories of trials and triumphs, pain and pleasure.
Often people will argue that they are the only ones to suffer in a certain way. According to them, no one has been through what they have. No one has had it so bad, so difficult, so painful, etc. as they have. Even when it comes to temptations, some Christians act as if they must be a unique experiment of God and the Devil. Paul clearly reminds us, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). So, the next time you are about to throw a pity party for all your pains and woes, just remember that the very people you invite may have suffered just as great of a trial as you have. In a way it is comforting to know that no matter what the trial or trouble, there are others who can sympathize with us. Better yet, the Lord can, too (Heb. 4:15). Of course, none of us are ready to compare our trials and sufferings to that of our Lord’s.
– Daniel R. Vess