Arriving in a new city last Thursday, I had the strangest first week of graduate school. I fell and broke my leg within 48 hours of arriving there! I was really amazed by the kindness shown by my new room mate, someone who I had only just met. "We are family now", she said when she found me lying in my room with a swollen leg, unable to move, in a strange city with no family except across three oceans.
She took me to the student health center by cab to get my leg examined. The cab driver was so nice and said to me how lucky I was to have a friend like that. After that, my roommate didn't stop helping me - she made me amazing meals and brought them to and made me comfortable despite my insistence that I could do things on my own. When I protested, "I really like helping people", she said , "I believe what goes around always comes around..." and this was from someone who I had been paired with randomly!
I was seriously touched by the kindness of everyone - the girl in the elevator, people on the bus, the doctors and nurses - people who were so considerate and concerned. Feeling lonely and homesick, so many blessings I never expected came my way.
The small acts stayed in my mind - the bus shuttle drivers gave me the luxury of being picked up from any point where and made sure I could get the connections to wherever I needed to go... or the many people who held the door open for me - small things that were incredibly hard with crutches. In whatever way I could, I tried to repay the universe for its blessings.
Inspired by a story I read on DailyGood (the man who does magic with his crutches), I tried to make people laugh. I made a ton of silly jokes about my situation - ranging from "it's good practice for the ski season" to "I think my brain kind of took the term 'Fall Semester' too seriously" ! Either to other people or even in my mind I tried not to complain a single time about what happened. I clowned around with my crutches and tried not to feel bad about my leg even though I was in a lot of pain.
"I'm so proud of you", the nurse said, "We don't have many students who are so cheerful after a bad fall." I began noticing other students on crutches - I never knew there were so many students with broken legs! I tried to be very considerate towards them now that I was in the same situation. I took time to smile and chat with a paraplegic girl in a wheelchair who I noticed always ate lunch alone.
I realised soon enough that pain can be diminished by mental strength. The metaphorical value of using crutches and getting rid of them soon enough was not lost either. I could see that although for some time I was using physical crutches, there are a hundred of mental crutches I desperately cling on to. Sometimes the worst situations are also sometimes blessings, chances to witness great kindness from the universe.
Like the quote by Einstein, "You can move through life seeing nothing as a miracle, or seeing everything as a miracle." My first week of grad school, I was made to attend a class that I never signed up for - A Course in Miracles.