I got sick, which was completely unexpected for someone as healthy and strong as I’ve always been. Plus I’m a non-practicing Christian Scientist. I wasn’t supposed to get sick.
After months and months of languishing, I finally went in for surgery. It was a Tuesday, and they finished surgery on a Thursday, and I didn’t wake up until Friday. And then I couldn’t walk. And no one knew why. For 18 days.
Completely and totally unexpected.
But this isn’t a post about almost dying, or the fright I gave my poor family, or the fright I gave my doctors, and it’s not about pain and suffering. This is a post about gratitude. It’s a post about the light, after the dark. About love, and the absence of fear, and the voice of God when I needed to hear it most.
I am lucky. I am blessed. I am grateful!
I’m NOT grateful for the illness, I’m grateful that I lived through it, and grateful for the recovery! I’m grateful to be almost healthy again, only four months later. I’m grateful that my doctors thought I was worth saving – they could have stapled me back up and sent me back home to slowly die – but instead they dove in and took the risks and did the almost impossible. They saved me. I may have been the most complex “case” they had ever seen, but they didn’t let that stop them. I am so grateful that I was at the right hospital, with the right doctors!
And I’m grateful that God spoke to me, the night before the surgery, and let me know it would be worst case scenario, but that it would end up okay. Going into surgery I was the only one in the room who knew what we were facing – the doctors had no idea – my family had no idea – but I knew. And I was okay with it, because I had a promise from God that it would be okay. I wasn’t afraid. I had no reason to be.
And once I woke up? I woke up grateful, and I’ve stayed grateful. I feel extraordinarily blessed and lucky! How can I not?
Life changing events happen to people every day. People win the lottery, lose a loved one, fall in love, fall out of love, get in accidents, and get sick. It’s not at all uncommon. But do those events really change the people involved? I think sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes the answer is no – but in my case, I do feel changed, in a very real and meaningful way.
I am still the same basic person – I’m still enthusiastic and passionate, and I still love beauty and art – but I have a new sense of urgency. And what I want – urgently and now – is financial security and to own a home. In the past I was perfectly content to drift along financially, as long as I was artistically challenged. But now I want financial security as well as artistic fulfillment – and I believe the best way to accomplish that is to go back to the way I used to live, when I was first starting out as an artist – back to the days when I had a day job, and I did art on the side.
That may sound odd, coming from an artist – don’t all artists want to eventually give up the day job? I sure did! But now I’m looking forward to going back to working a real job. I remember the days where I created art, without any thought to making money from it, and I sort of miss those days. And while I’ve enjoyed the last decade more than I can ever express, I’m looking forward to a new challenge.
Back when I was in high school there were only two jobs that interested me – actor and lawyer – and I chose actor. Then somewhere along the way I discovered photography, and my career path shifted. And now? Maybe it’s time for my career path to shift again? And in a direction that I was attracted to, back in high school. I have always been attracted to the law, and while I’m not interested at this stage in my life, in going to law school, I think I’ve found a related path that will fit me just fine! I’ve been accepted to UCLA – into their graduate level certificate program to become a paralegal. The program will take a year, and I start in a couple of weeks, and I’m really excited. I was on campus this week, signing papers, and seeing where my classes will meet – and I am so ready for this!
I want financial security. I want to own a house. I want to create art in my spare time.
So today I am giving thanks for my new career path.
I’m giving thanks that warm weather and longer days and more sun are on the way!
And I’m giving thanks that I get to celebrate another birthday today! My Father says that this is the second half of my life – the first half ended on the day I went into surgery – and the brand new second half began that same day. I kind of like that idea. And I’m ready to make the second half of my life really count!
Happy birthday to me!
And the flowers? They are in my front yard right now – it’s definitely Spring in Southern California!
4 Replies to “Science and Health, and Art…”
Cheryl – I am so excited you are starting at UCLA – I think you will really enjoy it…My best friend is a paralegal – and you know, it’s a bullet proof job…even in the worst times, she can get a job at a firm. She was with WAMU when they got taken over, and could have stayed on with chase, but went to another firm for a couple months, and now is with Starbucks and they wil probably be there until she retires…It’s a solid career – and I think pretty interesting. Maybe I should have done it! lol…. But I like my job, it’s certainly been a odd path that got me where I am – this weekend I will be building databases and reports – good time lol. I definitely had to reassess my photography / creative pursuits this year. I had to put them in their right place, priority and whatnot. I want to capture images because I love that – not because of any obligation – which is where I was heading – and that just wasn’t the right path for me. We need to catch up again – finally getting my head above water with work, and with my mom moving up. Have been shooting more landscape-y stuff lately…But also want to dig through my archives to pusblish some music sets I never bothered to show off before…even if I’m not shooting them actively now, I still have more in archive…maybe I’ll reconnect to it whilst doing so…and I really need to start taking some food images w/my good camera, lol…seriously. Your images alway inspire.
Cheryl – I feel silly that you went through all of that and I never had a clue of what’s going on. I am glad and grateful that you got through it and that you are well on your way to recovery. I have always admire you not only for your passionate nature but also for how positive a person you really are. You always have something nice to say and a positive outlook on whatever is happening to you. I love that. As far as your career path… I’m not really what one would call an artist, but I completely understand where you are coming from with the day job and art on the side. As you know, I’ve been making jewelry for about 10 years now, and while I still love it, the fact that my passion has become my job has put a damper on it for me. I don’t make jewelry because I love it, I now make jewelry because I have to. It puts a huge strain on my creativity. As a result, I’ve slowed down quite a bit on that front, and while I miss the creative outlet, I don’t miss the stressing out for deadlines and making sure I sell what I’ve got. So I completely understand where you are coming from. It’s great you are going to go to UCLA and will end up with a day job that you will really like – not everybody can say that! Best of luck for you in this second part of your life. A very happy birthday to you, my friend. XXX
Oh my goodness! I had no idea of the severity of your surgery. I’m so so glad for you and your new beginning! Cheers to you for having the courage to change paths and embrace a new beginning!