?To realize the value of one second,
ask a person who has survived
a near-death accident?.
This week, I finished my first week of classes at Southern Oregon University to obtain my Masters in Art Education. One week down. Sixty, or so, to go. It seemed as if I blinked and the week started and ended before I opened my eyes again. Part of it, certainly, is that I?m working full-time, going to school full-time, homework (which is already hefty), and running with Mickey our normal 15-20 miles a week. Hope and possibility, though, are the keywords of the week. Sitting in both my sculpture and printmaking classes, looking out floor-to-ceiling banks of windows with either views of the Siskiyou or Cascade Mountains, I felt grateful and actually humbled that I have such incredible opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher.
One of the most common responses I had from people this week, when I explained my very altered work schedule, was ?I could do what you?re doing when I was twenty-one, but I couldn?t do it now. I couldn?t do what you are doing?. I responded in this way ? ?I have more energy than I did when I was twenty-one, believe it or not?. And that?s all I say.
But, the reason I seem to be so hopeful and energetic now is actually because of something very sad and frightening. Five years ago, I had a horrible accident on a photography shoot. In one moment, I nearly lost my life. Though I sustained injuries that required years of surgeries and physical therapy to recover from, I lived. Much of this, I believe, is thanks to my dog, Mickey, who I adopted 4 days before my third surgery for my injuries. (I had no business adopting a lab/greyhound puppy in the midst of this tragedy I was trying to survive, but when I saw him, I loved and needed him and he saved my life, I think).
My life has never been the same since the fall in that car plant in Alabama. Every second of my life and what I choose do with it, who I love, how I love and how I care, matter now ? so very much. I believe I treasured my life and time itself before that accident. However, since the accident, I am so very committed to living every single moment, giving as much as I can. It would seem that, after five years, the intensity of this life-altering, almost life-ending moment would have diminished. Not so.
Today is Easter. I took Mickey down to school today to show him where my classes are and the rest of the gorgeous SOU campus. Maybe he didn?t get it ? that this was the place where my new life began this week. Maybe he did. Anyway, we had a so happy day there.
Life is a sort of splendid torch I?ve got hold of for the moment
and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible
before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw