It’s funny how the mind reacts to traumatic situations. Sitting in the doctor’s office, hearing the words….multiple sclerosis. Readin
g the sympathetic look on the doctor's face. His words echoing in the back chasms of my brain. Everything in the room seemed so distant, yet suffocatingly close all at the same time.
Suddenly, my mind took me to this lovely place and I was transported to the summer of 2000. Justin and I had recently met and were walking along a sidewalk in Provo, Utah. He had teased me about something, as he often did, and I tried to playfully kick him as my flip flop flies off my foot and takes off down one of the street gutters filled with water from a recent rain storm. I squeak with surprise and Justin takes off sprinting down the street to try and catch my runaway sandal. He brings it back sopping and saturated and gets down on a knee like a prince presenting the glass slipper to Cinderella. I remember how the scent of rain still lingered in the air. I remember how my heart warmed and fluttered with the feeling of being in love. How there was nothing more wonderful than walking there, on that dilapidated sidewalk with my most amazing man I had ever met. That’s the scene that played out when I heard the doctor say it.
Then another one. I’m sitting in my living room in Colorado, talking to a friend while cradling my newborn baby girl, the scent of her newness still present in my nose. The phone rings and Justin is in a rather chipper mood, asking me “what do you think about moving to Georgia?” I remember how the sun heated the back of the upholstered chair my hand was resting on. It felt too hot. I remember my friend trying not to eavesdrop but craning her neck to hear more when I gasp, “Georgia?”.
Why did my mind bring me to those memories? It took them out of the filing cabinet of my mind and presented them to me as if they were as fresh as yesterday. Perhaps protecting me from the onslaught of bad news. Perhaps marking times in my life that brought about major changes -- moments that forever altered the direction and path of my life. Like this moment. Like the moment when I am diagnosed with something I had never paid much attention to, something that was just a name in a book, some faraway disease that would never affect me, but has suddenly become my bedmate, my constant companion, for life.
And then a new memory is born. Walking out of the doctor’s office with my husband. Not knowing what lay ahead of us, but staying strong for each other. We get to the car and notice the tire is flat, thanks to a large, unforgiving silver screw. And I laugh. Isn’t it funny how life can be so indiscriminate? Even if you walk out of a doctor’s office, fresh with the grime of bad news, you are not immune from screws finding your tire. And it helped me to see that I can’t stop laughing. I can’t stop seeing the bright side. There is only one way to get through this – happily, gratefully, prayerfully, hopefully. I will get through this a stronger and better person. I will.