As I'm preparing for my riding lesson, which by the way is one of my favorite activities each week, I'm reminded of the movie Sliding Doors. A 1998 romantic comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah in which a seemingly insignificant event results in two entirely different scenarios. The story chronicles the life of Helen after she misses=catches her train.
When Helen, a London ad executive, is fired from her job and rushes out to catch a train, two scenarios take place. In one, she gets on the train and comes home to find her boyfriend, Gerry, in bed with another woman. In the second, she misses the train and arrives after the woman has left.
It makes me think how random events and choices potentially have long-lasting consequences. Some of these consequences are within our control, others are not. I often wonder which direction my life would have taken had I not been steered down the road of transverse myelitis. I only know with certainty how it's playing out while living with TM. Prior to my physical limitations I was pursuing a career within the financial industry and enjoyed several outdoor activities such as bike riding, hiking, swimming, etc. I was also determined to summit Mount Rainier someday and had joined a mountaineer climbing course. Those activities were abruptly altered when my body took me through the door leading to a disability. Twenty-six years into door number two I can look back and recognize the scenario that has become my life.
One of the first steps into this life involved discovering new activities to participate in. Therapeutic horseback riding became number one on the list. I was fortunate to have a therapeutic riding center only 20 minutes from my house. I have been enjoying the physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences from that decision ever since. My bond with horses quickly led to a love for anything with fur, feathers, or scales (much to my husband's dismay). My life is now full of the love that our furry companions give us so unconditionally. Shortly after joining the therapeutic riding community I also started writing again. A passion that I had left behind years ago in pursuit of more lucrative interests. Motivated by my muse (horses and dogs) I have written a few short stories about my journey and transformation along this new path and I'm unlocking the creative side of my personality again while using my talent to inspire others to find the light in their lives. One of the most momentous occasions of life behind door number two was meeting the man that I chose to spend the rest of my life (and eternity) with. We met while he was volunteering at the therapeutic riding center. I doubt we would have crossed paths if I hadn't been seeking therapy for my physically challenged body. He has been my soulmate and staunch supporter since the day we met. This week we’re celebrating 16 years of navigating this world of uncertainty together.
These are just a few of the blessings I’ve experienced over the past twenty-six years. Have there been challenges along the way? You bet! Would I trade in my life for something better? Not in a million years. In the end it doesn't matter what my circumstances would have or could have been. By embracing the life I've been given, I find myself surrounded by family, friends, and a beautiful environment.
While finishing up this post I took a quick break and ended up in a wheelchair mishap. My husband wasn't home, so I tried to activate my emergency contact system, but it kept disconnecting me. The whole time I was lying there waiting for assistance, and feeling frustrated that our expensive system wasn't working, I told myself “Remember you're writing a blog about counting your blessings.”
Sometimes the blessings are a lot easier to count once you find your way out of the trials. Although my emergency system wasn't connecting the receiving end saw that I was pushing my button and shortly I was visited by two very nice young firefighters. The blessings in this case happened to be that I am now aware we have a failure in our system which we intend to remedy before a true emergency comes along. I'm also grateful the medical alert company followed through on calling in assistance even when they couldn't contact me. I wasn’t hurt, but my transfer fails often leave sore muscles and bruises.
My husband’s comment to me as the firefighters passed him on their way out of the house, “I can’t believe I walked in to find you smiling and laughing after what you’ve been through."