A few months ago, I went to a 12 step meeting I hadn’t been to in quite some time. The last time I was at this particular meeting, it was towards the end of Jeff’s stint in rehab, May 29th, 2014. I remember this date because during the meeting, we discussed a daily reading that became one of the foundational elements of my journey towards a higher power that summer. The reading included a Louisa May Alcott quote, “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” The reading spoke to me, for almost every day, I ran by Diversey Harbor and admired the beautiful boats in the bay, each individual, and collectively beautiful. It occurred to me when I heard this particular reading that I was a lot like those boats in the harbor; they were not meant to remain moored. If I were ever going to experience the vastness of the world, with its ebbs and flows, I would need to learn how to sail.
The meeting is held in a windowed room on a high floor in a hospital, overlooking Lake Michigan. At the time, I found it very ironic to glance out the window during the reading, and to see a sailing lesson taking place on the lake. Coincidence then, but now I know it was a power greater than myself at work. I was struck by the juxtaposition of hearing the reading, and seeing the visual manifestation of the action. Since then, my life has been a series of lessons, and through it all, I have been able to look towards the universe, grateful for teaching me how to sail my ship. Though sometimes, it has been difficult to be appreciative in the moment, especially when I am scared and angry.
When I went back to that meeting on November 15th, 2015, almost a year and a half later, I was struggling to be grateful for the moment. Some of the medical problems I have been grappling with over the past three months were just starting, and I wondered what my higher power had in store. I wanted to cling to my old victim mentality and cry out, “Why is this happening to me?! Why are YOU doing this to ME?!” I went to a meeting instead.
The meeting started, and the sadness in me settled. As I was listening to someone read some of the meeting’s script, I looked up at one of the windows across from me and I saw little boats, dancing in the reflection on the window pane. Startled, I craned my neck to look out at the lake, and there is was: a sailing lesson, in the middle of November. What were the odds?
I’m going back to the doctor today, as after all the tests and the hormonal craziness of the past few months, I have developed a lump on my thyroid that needs to be checked out. I don’t know what will happen. Maybe it will be nothing, or maybe my thyroid will have to be removed and my dreams of starting a family will need to be delayed further. Maybe it will prove further inconclusive. Whatever the outcome, today I look to my wrist, where my tattoo of my sailboat remains as a permanently inked reminder to trust my higher power, and I choose to release the fear and embrace the lessons.