Last Saturday, as the wheels of the aircraft lifted off the tarmac at Baltimore Washington International Airport, I smiled knowing that a difficult nine-week chapter of my life was concluding. During my six-hour cross-country flight home, I found comfort knowing that I was headed toward brighter days, literally and symbolically. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions as I reflected on the weeks of uncertainty during my stay in Pennsylvania that included two back surgeries, three hospital admissions, and very special time with family- along with the bitter cold ‘polar vortex’ weather. I peered out the plane’s window with a hopeful spirit as it started its descend to Sacramento International Airport.
I stepped on the escalator towards baggage claim and scanned the airport with great excitement. It had been nine weeks since I last saw my husband, Noah. Half way down the escalator, our eyes locked. The second half of the ride seemed to be in slow motion as I got closer to my life co-pilot. Tears streamed down both of our cheeks as we embraced one another. Although time and distance may be hard to comprehend, our hearts felt the impact of both.
It amazes me how time and distance can aide in mentally putting things in the past. How over time, the intensity and nitty-gritty of once large-life events can fade from our thoughts. In Pennsylvania, every day was a challenge and focus to improve and recover well enough to tackle the cross-country flight home to continue to recuperate from my surgeries. When I was back in my husband’s arms and felt the healing rays of the CA sun and walked into our home, I felt a sense of relief, renewed hope and knew I was on to a new and brighter chapter in my life.
When taking a step back and looking at the timeline of our lives, it seems easy to compartmentalize the past into different stages, phases and events. Some compartments we would love to relive, others we relish at just the thought of that time in our lives, many we learn from, then there are those memories we wouldn’t wish for anyone to endure. While this compartment of the past twelve months in my life will not be one that I will want to relive, it is one that I am learning from, daily.
I am learning the importance of making adjustments in life in order to continue to do what we love. Noah and I love traveling, exploring and the outdoors. Although we have not been able to do that in the past twelve months due to my back issues, we still strive to find ways to accomplish this even though it is on a much smaller scale. Right now I am not supposed to sit, stand or walk for long periods of time. This week Noah and I went to a local place that had a flat path for us to walk on, since I am not to walk on a hilly or rocky surface. My dad was with us as he flew back home with me so I would not have to travel alone. While the three of us took a leisurely stroll together, I made sure to count my blessings. I was out of the hospital, walking, breathing fresh air, and soaking in the sun with the two most important men in my life.
As Noah and I walked side-by-side on the path, he reached for my hand and told me to hold my other arm out, close my eyes and take a deep breath and he did the same. I took several cleansing deep breaths with Noah and smiled, knowing that whatever adjustments I have to make in life, I am lucky for all of the support that I have and to not be alone as I continue forward on this journey.
“An optimist is one who makes the best of it when he gets the worst of it.”
Have you had to make any adjustments in your life to continue to do what you love?