Because I am linear, I tend not to see, or pay attention to, warning signs in my peripheral vision, until it’s almost too late.  I have always felt the universe intervenes with some kind of extreme measure to get my attention.  When this happens, I suddenly realize, it’s time to pay attention.

When my son was little I was replacing our 12′ above ground pool with a 15′ pool.  As I raked out the stone-dust on the circle where the 12′ pool used to be, my son asked me how much bigger the new pool would be.  I decided to show him and use the perfectly marked circle as a guide as I outlined, with my heel, a new 15′ circle around the 12′ circle.  My son had been practicing hitting a baseball by throwing it up over his head and swinging when it came down.  Every time he connected with the ball, he would throw the next one higher and swing with more momentum.  As I was walking head down outlining the new pool dimensions, I came up behind my son in the yard.  Anxious to show him the new pool circle, I was hurrying to finish the outline.  Up, up in the air went the ball and with all his might he swings, and misses.  The thrust was so great it spun him around clutching the bat almost losing his balance.  I looked up just as the crack of the bat made contact with the bridge of my nose.  Resisting unconsciousness, I dropped hard and fast to the ground, blood spewing everywhere.  Instead of passing out, I saw my son’s face go blank.  I knew he thought I was going to die as, by this time, there was a pool of blood that could have easily been misconstrued as a  massacre.  I grabbed a towel I found in the yard and tried to wrap my head while I called 911.  Within minutes, Fire, Police and EMT’s were at the house.  My son was starting to shake and turn blue.  In all his seven years, he’d never seen anything remotely close to this, let alone be the cause of it.  To make matters worse, it was his mom bleeding profusely all over the yard.  It was too much for him to take, he was going into shock.  As the EMT’s worked on me, I pulled the police officer close and pointed to my son who was in dire need of help.  In an instant the officer got behind my son and bent him over in a type of bear hug maneuver.  I didn’t know what was going on, but he looked like he knew what he was doing.  Arms wrapped around and bent over my son, the officer slowly came up releasing his grip. Before my eyes I could see the color in my son’s face return as he gasped for breath on the way up.  It was amazing.  At that point the officer said I needed to call a neighbor to watch my son while they took me to the ER.  I made it very clear that my son was coming with me.  No argument there.  We head to the ER.

It was such a freak accident.  I assured my son it was really my fault for walking up behind him with my head down, not paying attention.  I began to wonder why something like that happened.  Think about it, what are the odds that all of the variables would line up in a fashion causing the bat to crack perfectly on the bridge of my nose at that exact moment?  Then it hit me (literally); I had a serious issue forming on the side lines of my life that I hadn’t given any attention to, thinking it wasn’t really that bad.  It was then I realized something was trying to get my attention.  Mission accomplished.  I finally addressed the issue. 

Through out the years whenever something terrifying happens, I usually look inward to see if there is something I’m missing, not doing, ignoring or just defiantly choosing not to address.  Alas, there is always something there waiting for me.  When I finally figure it out, I look back and wonder why I never saw the signs before now.  Clearly they’re always there, getting bigger and bigger until they hit me hard, taking me down.

This week was no different.  The wake-up call was more heartbreaking than physical, but the assault was the same.  Sharp and painful.  Sleepless nights, dwelling on things I have no control over, even conjuring up scenarios in my head that made sense to me but were nowhere near the reality.  The wind was knocked out of me in a series of words.  Although I’d been feeling it for some time, it was the rise and fall of 24 hours that knocked me down.  I’d derailed, plain and simple.  I was plummeting fast, heading for a crash if I didn’t get my act together quickly.  For a smart girl, I’d said. and done, some stupid things.  I’d been waving my I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit-Because-I’m-Always-Right attitude flag only to find I really do care (a lot), and I’m not always right.  I think some would call that a gray area for this Black and White gal.  Once again, it was almost too late.

I tossed and turned all night not getting a wink of sleep.  I heard my son get up in the wee hours of the morning to use the bathroom.  I buoyantly said Hi from my room, I could hear him say Hi back but knew he was thinking to himself, “Crap, she’s awake and probably wants to talk”.  I chuckled to myself, I knew he was crazy tired and didn’t push to talk.  Instead I started petting the dog, who opened her eyes, stood up and moved to another part of the bed out of my reach.  Hmmph!  Left alone with my sleepless thoughts, I laid there and finally addressed the train wreck I’d been denying all along.  In the dark, I came up with a plan…

Today is a new day, a new start.  My personal life needs tweaking, even some changing.  I made a list and started with an email first thing this morning.  It’s amazing how good I feel letting go of the stuff that was holding me back.  My hopes hold a bright and happy future.  I’m sure the universe will let me know, one way or another if something needs attention.  For now, this derailed train is back on track.

It is better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret.

-Jackie Joyner-Kersee