“It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.”- Paul Cezanne.
It only took twenty days to upend twenty eight years of progress, now at the age of an adult I was starting over like a child. After waking from the coma(all twenty days of it) and being cleared fora med flight to a rehabilitation hospital I had arrived. Not only was I physically back in the same location I had started from before I moved(to New York) but also mentally starting over. With no job, apartment, car, or social life, I was left with only one thing… rehabilitation. I found myselfso far down in the depths of life I had nowhere to go but up!My view from the bottom was one of complete hopelessness andloss. However, once I was farther along in my physical recovery(walking, eating, and communication skills) I began to see some light, and the burdens of the hospital were no more. I still had(and have) a mountain to climb but it’s much easier with the right tools and attitude. Once I began to shed the weight of piles of pills, a feeding tube, and the discomfort of a hospital bed I was free to breathe again. I quickly came to the realization that material belongings are meaningless, youreap what you sow, and that life is but a blur. Once I regained my determination and strength, it was clear what I had to do. It may have taken but a moment to tear down the life I had built, but now I had a chance to repair it andeven better this time! One can only be so lucky(or unlucky if you will. Now,instead of hanging outin my New York City apartment on a week day night after work, sometimes I hang out with people at a brain injury support group. Is it somewhere I ever expected to be? No, but I can still see the beauty in it. I have enjoyed having conversations with people that are usually invisible in mainstream society and very likely by me too prior to the stroke. Except that I now I see them.It’s not a place I ever wanted(or expected) to be, but I’m going to make the best of it. Because rather then dwell on the past or get stuck, sometimes we just need to tell ourselves “Let’s just get on with it!” Do I suppose I am an injured little bird stuck inmy circumstances? No, because in making the decision to get on with it I have found the hopeto fly again.
― Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom.
Today, a newrecord was quietly accomplishedin a corner of the globe rarely heard of. Three once unrelated strangers gathered in friendship, and oneamazingpersonal journey was thrusted ever forward to the “finish line.” While the rest of the world hummed along minding its own business, I was excitedly(and happily) checkingone more daydream off my to do list.Just like most personal goals it was of little importance to everyone else, except in this particular case Iwas accompanied by others that understoodthe importance of such a day. Many of us are skilled at rationalizing our way out of doing something. When in truth, we need to be rationalizing our way intomore things! There is no reason you cannot accomplish what you dream of. As they say, where there’s a will there is a way.By working through seemingly insurmountable circumstances with gritted teeth and a rock solid resolve, I have found that to be absolutely true. You see, what we aren’t told enough growing up is that we can do anything.Be weary of those who tell youany different. Ultimately, the people that believe in you as much as you believe in yourself, will walk right alongside you during the race.
above: My two pillars of support during the race Early on(when I was injured) there were questions of my ability to walk well again if at all, and much less trek a mile! However, with tremendous support and blessings I’ve done just that twice now. Both times were events that originally had been dreamed up in my mind.
above girl in tutu:Tropicolor, color run. the happiest 5k on the planet!
EvenifI completed each goal slowly, the point was to complete it at all and soak up the fact that dreams do(and can) come true. Especially when you put your best foot forward and your mind to it. Therefore, be careful of what you tell yourself and who you listen to. Because, whatever words are spoken get eaten up by our heart. Certainly, your heart deserves only the best things that life has to offer, so don’t let it consume words thatwill harm it!Find windto carry you where there is none, and fly high even when others want you to stay low.
“Sometimes when you go through adark period, you come out on the other side even more beautiful.”-unknown.
Everyone has gone through a dark time, in the beginning it’s alwaysdifficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel(or if there is any at all). After being discharged from the Hospital, and being able totake into account the gravity of my situation, I saw nothing butagapingblack hole,and attimes I still feel that way.However, with a very large dose of some real hope(God and physical progress) I was finally able to start seeing if only but a glimmer, the light reflecting off of somethingthat I couldn’t entirely comprehend. Anynotions of a linear life timeline that I hadpreviously thought of was now effectively bent into all different directions. I had set myself afoot on a pathway that checked off most of the(in my mind)practical boxes. Agreat secure job,a nice place to live, a savings,and acloset full of clean( if fashionable)clothes.However, on thisnew winding path, I had a problem, because myprevious path had disappeared on me! Now I was left blindlysearching to get back on my path once again. It was as if I wereAlice in Wonderlandasking the Cheshire cat for directions andI was beginning to realizethatrather then follow apath, I’dlikely have to make my own. Each of us is making a path,but sometimes you get stuck in aparticularly hard patch that’s rough to cut through. You canconsume all the self help books you want,but nothing quite teaches or shapesyou like experience. Besides cliche’ one liners can only comfort you so much, before you decide to throw the book out and write your own. The thing is, quite a few of those one liners are actuallycorrect. Particularly the ones on hardship,storms,and transformation(as the quote above). Unfortunately though, some transformationscan be painful. Just as a blacksmith beats iron intoshape, sometimes were beat into shape as well. The good news is, that We usually come out on the other side better. Even though I cannot see it now, my better sensetells me that there is a dawn and it’s coming willbring with it thesongs of the morning birds and my ransom from a dark cage. The question is, now that the path is gone,where will the new oneI forge lead?Now his is the fun part(and terrifying)because you’ll find the answer is aresounding, “anywhere!” It’s okay to fall off the path once in awhile, so long as you don’t stray too far and just know that youpossess the power to create a new one.