Desperately Seeking Silver Linings

Things never seem to go as planned. The universe has an uncanny way of throwing things off no matter how hard we try to keep them under control. As adults, everywhere we look we see things that didn’t go the way we expected. Sometimes the new course is good but more often it seems bad; jobs are lost, relationships end, people get sick and loved ones die. At the same time, we can be so focused on the path we think we should be on that we lose sight of the other possibilities around us.

At times the curveball the universe throws seems completely wrong and is too much to bear, but there may be reasons for it. Sometimes we will be able to see those reasons for ourselves but more often than not, I think they impact other people in ways we may never know. It’s funny how something as trivial as a shrunken sweater can remind a person of all this.

As children, the world is wide open and full of possibilities. That magical time is often short-lived because too soon, they learn that the world can be hard and mean. But before that happens, anything is possible and one woman’s sweater disaster can become a new treasure:


Photo by Daniel Soderstrom,

I’m not saying that a shrunken sweater is the equivalent of job loss, death, illness or the other serious steps life takes us on. But I am saying that sometimes good can come from bad and that we can learn a lot from children. Seeing this photo of my friend’s daughter wearing the sweater I destroyed fills me with such joy, I want to ruin all my clothes to see more moments like this. It also reminds me to look for the good in the bad because as simple as it sounds, sometimes you can find silver linings in the darkest of moments. But in those darkest of moments, we have to remember to look  and that the world is still full of possibilities.

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. – Alexander Graham Bell

The Littlest Comeback King

I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed our daily outings until my little Energizer Bunny couldn’t walk anymore. Mornings and evenings, rain or shine, we could usually be found pounding the pavement for a little exercise and fresh air. At times this was a chore to me. While I love my dog, sometimes the last thing you want to do is go for a walk; especially in the rain or on a cold winter night, which trust me, we’ve done.

We will never know for sure how he injured his leg, but we know how long the road to recovery has been. At first, I welcomed the break, there is always so much to do in a day and I could use some extra time. As months passed, however, I started to wonder if we would ever get to walk again. Watching him limp around the single block he was allowed, carrying him up steps, therapeutic stretching – it felt as though he was never going to get better. Now I watch him sprint down the street as we slowly add one block at a time, and I find myself smiling as I follow his little chicken legs down the sidewalk. My boy is making a comeback.

Our walks have changed now. I know that I’m projecting when I say that my dog is even more excited to go now than before. It is unlikely that he associated his injury with the months of confinement, and even more unlikely that he gave his injury any thought at all. I also know that it isn’t realistic to think that he’s trying to make the most of every outing because he never knows when a walk will be his last. But I look at them that way. Now his obnoxious insistence that we go, go, GO! brings a smile to my face. When he stops to smell every tree, I let him even though it’s slowing us down and making me late. For now I have my best friend back and I want to make the most of every moment. You never know how many walks you’ll get.


The Ups of Downs

I fell down the other day. It was sudden and the pavement was hard. I hadn’t expected to find patchy ice when I stepped outside to walk Danny and it was far colder than I had expected. The last thing that I wanted was for him to reinjure himself since he was finally on the road to recovery, but I wasn’t ready to head home either.  

We weren’t far from our house when I took that fateful step. I had been redirecting us to safer footing and I hit the ground with such force that I was momentarily stunned. In hindsight I remember thinking, “Thank goodness my phone is still okay,” as the audiobook I was listening to continued to play. Then I heard the concerned calls from my neighbor asking if I was alright. “I’m fine, no problem!” I called, as I jumped back to my feet and continued walking. 

It wasn’t until I was a block away that the tears filled my eyes and I wondered if I had hurt myself. Still, we continued walking into that cold wind. By the time we turned towards home, I was fairly confident that I had bruised myself quite nicely but nothing more serious. I can’t remember the last time I had a fall like that, I’m always really careful with my footing.

As the days have passed, the pain has changed. I find it interesting that when I first arrived home and inspected myself for injury, there wasn’t much to see. By the end of the day, I was beginning to turn purple in various areas. By the following day, I had even uglier bruising and a sore muscle in the other leg. The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a literal example of everyday life a fall is. 

Each day we’re given opportunities to take the safer route for fear of injury. People avoid risk because of the fear they’ll end up hurt, because of the unknown, because of potential worry. Day after day, I have taken that route and I’ve never fallen. I realized that there is no way for us to predict the step that will take us down. In the end what matters is picking ourselves up and taking those first few steps forward while we evaluate the damage. Broken bones, bruises and strained muscles will heal, but fear over the unknown will limit your living. You never know if the step that you take will leave you flat on your back but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take it. You should tread carefully and use good judgment, but don’t skip the walk entirely because of fear. You never know what you might miss out on.