(Estimated reading time 3 minutes)

In a heartbeat the world has changed. I am swirling, churning- the ground no longer solid beneath me. It’s the rush of noise, sight removed, direction unknown. It is fear in slow motion, anxiety too quick to catch.

I was thirty seven when I got the news from my doctor. You have a growth, he said. It looks worrisome. We’ll get you in to see a specialist and he did. I was thirty seven, thinking I would never see forty. I was thirty seven and the weeks moved slowly – time sticking to my every unknown giving it spikes. I was thirty seven and I wondered what it would be like to die. I thought it was the worst time of my life. It felt like pain and tears, it felt like heartbreak and loss, like my future disintegrating in front of me, like gasping for breath. I was thirty seven and what felt like my worst nightmare turned out to be one of my biggest gifts.

I learned that I am stronger than I thought. I learned that walking through the middle of your fear is the only way out of it. I learned that the most powerful stories are the ones we tell ourselves. I learned that courage has nothing to do with the absence of fear, that life can be gone in an instant and that we only get one chance at it. I learned that I have no desire to live a small, guarded life, that each of us are given powerful gifts that we need to share and if we don’t they turn into something small and bitter inside us. I learned that it is better to live in freedom than in fear.

There are times I still feel lost and afraid , although nothing comes close to what I felt during that challenging health crisis 11 years ago. I remind myself to grab hold of the gifts I was given in the darkness and remember that the road beyond the shadows is paved with gratitude, courage, hope and trust.

The road beyond the shadows is paved with gratitude, courage, hope and trust.

Here’s to living with clarity, courage, compassion and confidence!


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