“It’s the friends who help you realign with your original mission and values that make a substantial difference in your life. Sometimes it just takes one conversation with someone who is radically authentic to reignite your inner fire and help you get back on the right path.”Yung Pueblo
It occurred to me this morning, as I was leaving my 50th and (hopefully) final treatment at The Disc Institute of Pittsburgh, that the majority of big moments in our lives are rarely the ones marked with big, beautiful celebrations.
There is no finisher’s medal or champagne toast. There’s no celebratory dinner, confetti rain, or cake all lit with candles.
We might take a photo or post something on social media but, ultimately, we move quietly along, right on into whatever is next.
Don’t get me wrong, my Neurosurgeon was the first to congratulate me on a successful spinal surgery. I get several high fives and encouraging words from my physical therapist every week. My Chiropractors are some of my biggest supporters, and do everything they can to help me on a daily basis. My final treatment at The Disc Institute this morning was fun and filled with big smiles, happy dances, and lots of hugs. And my husband… oh man, my husband! He has been with me absolutely every step of the way – through every good, bad, and utterly ugly moment.
I am so very lucky and incredibly grateful to have so many pure hearted people helping me and hoping for me, every step of the way. But, as I drove away from my appointment this morning, I couldn’t help but think that the majority of life’s celebrations focus solely on the joy that comes from a particular event – but what about the other personal journeys we are bound to go on that can’t be defined in such a cookie-cutter way? What about the things we experience that feel as large and impactful as stepping through the doors of your favorite gym for the very first time in months (or even years) of being injured, unable to perform the exercises written in chalk upon the wall, but still knowing that you are about to embark on the next chapter of your very own comeback story? What about the mammoth sized and often invisible journeys that feel way more pivotal and important than any other socially acknowledged achievement we’ve ever had?
I read a quote once that said, “Life is so subtle sometimes, that you barely notice yourself walking through the doors you once prayed would open.” At the time, I couldn’t imagine that ever being true. I couldn’t imagine not noticing when you were ready to advance to the “next level” or you’d finally gotten the things you’d hoped for and dreamed of. I thought it meant a lack of gratitude or an inability to pay attention to magic – but that’s not true at all.
What nobody really tells you about the recovery process is that it’s a full-time job. Sometimes months go by and you don’t notice anything changing. Nothing major happens and your days follow such a similar routine, that you begin to assume you’re in the same condition you’ve always been, this entire time. Often it’s only once you look back with hindsight, or you’re finally able to take the next big step forward, that you can see all the subtle variations that have added up over time – and you realize you’re actually in a completely different place than where you used to be.
I understand it now because it has happened to me, quite a few times, in the past several months. And, today, it happened again as I left my final spinal treatment and drove to my friend, Nick’s, gym.
I walked through those doors, I laced up my shoes and, an hour later, out there on that gym floor, I finally saw it – the light at the end of my tunnel. In this very moment, I knew with all my heart that I am, once again, in very good hands. I am getting a little bit better every day. I am going to be okay. And, while I am finally beginning to know my own strength, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without all of YOU!