It seems as though each time I train for any kind of long distance run, a brand new injury reveals itself. Such are the rewards for hard work. This new injury involves my left foot. The fifth metatarsal area, to be exact. I won’t know for sure until I see my orthopedist if it is simply tendonitis (which I can manage to run through) or if it’s a stress fracture (which I absolutely cannot, unless I want to break my foot into pieces.)
Running is like that. Soap operas are like that. Life is like that. You have plotted your course, put on your shoes, stretched your hamstrings, and set out on the road. You have finally discovered your dead spouse is not dead, his evil twin has gone to prison, and you have renewed your vows. You have made your plans, prepared well, committed yourself, and things are going great.
It’s always the And Then. “And then I found out about the 23 year old blonde.” “And then the company went bankrupt.” “And then the doctor said it was cancer.” Our periods of contentment are abruptly ended with an And Then, those moments in life that change the whole way we feel, think, live. Sometimes you can prepare for these moments, but other times they are so unfathomable that you are caught off-guard. And Then, what?
Who (or what) a person turns to in those moments is character defining. Maybe it’s a sister or a brother. Maybe a mother or father. Maybe it’s a lifelong friend. Or maybe a person turns to alcohol or drugs. Maybe a person turns to strangers. Maybe a person turns inward and hides in depression and despair. But maybe a person in their And Then moment searches deep and finds his own true strength.
From the ashes of what remains can rise beautiful new life. And then, I went back to school. And then, I met him. And then, he kissed me. And then, life continues to move in its ebb and flow way, times of content and discontent, riches and losses, happiness and pain. Some more, some less, but always some of each.
I have learned in my rather busy 45 years that the secret to surviving a derailment is to remain calm and look for a new path. You may even have to blaze a new trail, so always carry a mental machete. Or, you know what? Just carry a real machete. People are a lot more accommodating when you have a machete in your hands.
“And then, this woman with a machete walked in…”