When you look at life from the perspective of on the outside looking in, its pretty amazing. We have all heard the saying, “In the blink of an eye”, as it relates to major changes in one’s life. Think about it – the major changes in your life. I don’t know how long your mother was in labor with you, but the actual moment of your birth – in the blink of an eye. Your first step – in the blink of an eye. The first time you went to school – in the blink of an eye. The preparation time for these events, a little longer, perhaps even months. But the actual beginning – that fast.
So now you are grown up. Lets say, junior high school. Your first kiss – in the blink of an eye. Because after that, it’s not the first anymore. Graduation from high school – the actual act happens just that fast, and, yep, in the blink of an eye, you aren’t a high school student anymore, you are a Graduate. Lets go generic – how long does it take to send an email? You guessed it – same amount of time.
Two days ago, a very dear friend had her world turned on its ear, in the blink of an eye. Her oldest child, grown, with children of her own, was in a car with a friend. A man, not paying close attention for whatever reason, hit another car, sending it careening head on into the car with my friend’s daughter inside. Her daughter survived, thankfully. I feel quite sure I can say with all honesty that her life will NEVER be the same. No matter how well she heals from her 6 broken ribs, broken wrist, broken hip/pelvis joint, broken finger, messed up knees, multiple cuts and bruises – her life changed in the blink of an eye. I went through one of those changes myself, on April 3, 1999. I have recovered well – but my outlook on life will NEVER be the same as it was before my accident.
What about the millions dealing with terminal and/or life changing illness? Cancer, lupus, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, COPD – the list goes on. One can argue that these illnesses don’t happen in the blink of an eye. That may be true – but the very second, in that very “blink” that the doctor tells you that your tests came back positive for whatever ailment – your life is not ever the same. Your outlook is permanently altered. The very second you tell your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, your coworkers – their life is irrevocably altered. So then comes the big choice for you. Do you hide your infirmity – or do you share it? Do you isolate yourself from all who love you, who would help you any way they could, in some mistaken ideology of protecting them from harm? Or do you allow those who love you to do anything and everything they can to make sure that you do not take one step of your journey alone? Do you share with the world your treatments, your side effects, what worked, what didn’t – or do you take it into your darkness of despair, to be picked at like an open wound, festering, feeding your depression, feeding your isolation, listening to the voice that says its best if no one knows, its best if no one sees, you can do it alone to save others from suffering as you do? There are ramifications to both sides. Putting it all out there sets you up for the naysayers, the gossips, the just downright mean people who will use their limited knowledge of the situation to judge what they cannot comprehend. But putting it all out there has a positive side. You may reach one person, touch their life. Let them see that you went through what they are going through. Let them see that this is most likely what their parent, grandparent or spouse went through that they didn’t understand because they didn’t share their feelings when they went through it. When that happens – it’s all worth it. If you keep it all inside – you are the only one who knows. Have you ever shaken a bottle of soda, then opened it? What happens? Yep, it shoots all over everywhere, but leaves a good amount still in the bottle to be enjoyed. Well, when you keep it all inside – when you take that blink of an eye moment and internalize it – you are that bottle of soda. It just sits there, and bubbles, and bubbles, and needs room to expand, and has none. Sometimes it goes bad – spoils. Then when the top comes off – what spews out is rancid, ugly, nasty – where if it had been let out earlier, it may have shot all over everywhere – but there still would have been some good inside.
There are many “blink of an eye” moments in our lives. Some caused by others that we have no control over – others are handed to us for a decision as to what we will do. Reminds me of Robert Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled”. Our lives are full of less traveled roads. Some turn out to be excellent – smoothly paved, beautiful scenery; others are a rutted, muddy dirt track leaving us battered and bruised. But it’s when we get stuck on that muddy road, ignoring the tow truck with the winch waiting to pull us out in favor of trying to do it ourselves – that we fail to see that even the bumpy, rutted mud can have a positive influence on our life as a whole, teaching us that we don’t always have to go it alone.
I am active in 3 support groups at this time, and I’m here to tell you that for all I give to those there, I get so much more. The feeling that maybe I have lightened a burden, made someone smile, helped in some small way, makes me feel better. That “blink of an eye” moment, when the message comes through with thanks or a smile, changes my life forever. In just a couple short months, I will embark on a path to, I hope, help more people facing their own “blink of an eye” moments. But if I help but one person – its all worth it.
So, on this Sunday afternoon, the first Sunday of Spring – what will you do with your next “blink of an eye” moment? Will you keep it all to yourself? Or will you bravely step out, sharing your experiences as so many have done, opening your heart and mind to the possibility of new friends who just might help you and support you as you carry on this journey called life. My hope for all of you is that you will, or do, know the amazing feeling of having the support of those who care about what happens to you. I sure do – and it is the best feeling in the world!
Thanks for your time in reading this – it is greatly appreciated.