Around this time last year, I set out to do a little work on the roof of my house. Nothing major really, just cleaning some leaves from around the dryer vent and valleys and hammering down the metal flashing around another vent or two. Easy peasy I thought when I set out with my 10 year old ladder holder, a broom, and a hammer and went to work.
All was going well and I was just about to call it a day and happily cross another item off my honey do list when the ladder went one way and I went the other. Next thing I knew I was on the ground flat on my back inexplicably missing one of my shoes.
“Are you OK? What happened?” My wife asked as I lay there unable to talk or move.
After what seemed like several minutes of trying I was finally able to speak.
“Where did my shoe go?” I asked my frantic and somewhat bewildered wife.
“Don’t worry about your shoe. Can you move?”
“I, I think.” I said but I tried to move my arms without success.
“Do I need to call an ambulance?”
“No. I’ll be fine, give me a minute.”
I just lay there, staring up at the spring sky, wondering if I would ever walk again. Wondering who would do all that I did around the house. Wondering if I would be able to go on the Cub Scout camping trip we were to go on in a few days. And, most of all, wondering why I didn’t just go ahead and tell my wife to call an ambulance.
I did eventually manage to slowly get up and make it to a nearby chair, then to the bathroom where I discovered there was no blood in my urine which I took as a sign that I was free of internal injury and a need for medical care. Funny, I guess, there could have been a hundred things going on but blood-free urine was my sign that everything was going to be OK.
Anyway, I walked around feeling like I had been hit by a car for a few days and finally did go to the doctor where I learned I had a bruised kidney and two fractured ribs but was going to eventually be OK.
Well, not entirely OK, because I am now absolutely terrified of going on the roof now which has not been a good thing since last week when I noticed that the siding at the base of my chimney had some water damage and needed to be replaced. The obvious no-brainer answer here would be to pay someone to fix it for me but since I am already paying nearly $11k for a new roof I figured I would suck it up and make the easy if it were close to the ground repairs myself. So that is what I did. For four hours on Saturday to remove the old siding and trim, clean, and replace, and about an hour and a half after church on Sunday to paint the whole chimney.
Except sucking it up, I guess, is not really the right way to explain what was going on because for every second of that time I was gripped with a nearly crippling fear that I could die at any second.
Not kidding. Even though I was standing on a piece of foam because a buddy of mine told me I would “stick like a billy goat.” Even though I had sand bags on the bottom rung of the ladder and someone holding it. Even though I screwed two by fours to the roof to stand on. Even though I had a long tie down strap around the chimney I could hold on to, I was terrified. Not to exaggerate but I would rather go tent camping with broken ribs for 100 weekends in a row than ever climb on a roof again.
So I was sitting on the deck yesterday evening after the job was done and everything was put away looking up at my handiwork over a cup of coffee and wondering. Should I feel happy that I did the work myself and saved a few hundred bucks in the process? Or should I be thanking God for choosing to keep me safe even though I ignored everything my conscience and everyone else I talked to told me?