Even though we're innocent

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yesterday afternoon I was finally getting some Christmas tasks crossed off my to-do list. It was just me and Millie having a lazy Sunday while the big boys were tearing it up on the mountain. Little did I know that my oldest was about to be torn up BY the mountain. A seasoned snowboarder, he and his buddy were taking in one last run when someone much slower got in front of him and caused an abrupt stop on his part. Only the stop then turned into a flip which culminated with a collision of his left shoulder and a very icy patch of snow.

Without even an x-ray or medical training of any sort, anyone could determine his collarbone was broken. Badly broken. The bone pushing up under the skin gave it away for me. As we sat in the E.R. waiting to hear his fate, I thought about the sense of loss he was feeling knowing his first winter with a season's pass had come to a screeching halt. It makes it easier to process those losses when we've made decisions that have had a direct effect on the outcome. But he did nothing wrong. He wasn't being crazy or risky--not that this never happens. He didn't cut anyone off or break any rules and yet he has to pay a hefty price in spite of it.

I didn't go down the path of "this isn't fair" but instead I started thinking about how this has been a theme in my life this Fall season: having to pay (literally and figuratively) for something that wasn't my fault. Back in October, I got out of my car in the Walgreens parking lot during a terrible windstorm. Just as I opened my driver's door, a gust of wind flung it out of my hand and perfectly into the mirror of the car parked beside mine. My door hit the passenger side mirror so perfectly that it shattered in a million pieces and blew away. The unit was fine but the mirror was gone. I left a note and went inside. As I got to the register, there was a little old man holding my note with a bewildered look on his face. I went up to him and identified myself as the author and breaker of his mirror. He was appreciative of my honesty and felt sure it wasn't going to be a costly repair. Less than two hours later I got a call informing me that he'd already been to two body shops and the total damage was $280!!! It was hard to write that check knowing I didn't willfully cause his mirror to break.

Two days later I walked out to my car in the driveway only to notice a huge dent in my front bumper that I know wasn't there before. I retraced my steps and figured it happened in the high school stadium parking lot during the last home football game. No note was left behind. Although it was covered by insurance, I still had to pay a $300 deductible toward the repair. Again, I was innocent but still had to pay the price--and write another check.

The last incident that came to mind was when Millie (our dog) had a bladder infection in September that was treated with antibiotics. It returned in November with a vengeance. This time they wanted to do a culture to determine if the strain was resistant to what was previously prescribed. Sure enough it was and, more than likely, the original infection had never left her body. Apparently we were supposed to bring her back after the first round of medicine to make sure the infection was gone. We don't recall hearing those instructions although it's highly likely they were given. The culture showed a bacteria that should respond to the second round of meds and we brought her back in for yet another culture to determine it worked. No dice. We went back again for another urinalysis and culture and they suggested that perhaps their office may have contaminated her urine sample so the charge would be half. Sure enough, the last culture found no bacteria and most likely they were at fault but a full admission wasn't given. The cost? Again, close to $300. And again, neither we nor Millie did anything wrong.

So where am I going with this? No, I'm not just venting and I'm really not angry about it because it's made me realize something greater. Jesus also did nothing wrong. He was completely innocent and yet he still had to pay the price for our decisions. He still went to the cross knowing this. What a beautiful, humbling reminder of His sacrifice.

No, I'm not happy about the time and money spent on that which I view as frivilous. No, I'm in no way excited that my son has to endure a painful surgery, a long recovery and a season's pass down the drain. But in the grand scheme of things, they are small annoyances in comparison to what I have been given. And what better time than this Christmas season to be reminded of this.