Every year this week comes around. It’s the week after Memorial Day. It’s the week my life changed – now going on 26 years.
I’ve never written about this publicaly before, but feel ready to for some reason. At least a short version of it anyway.
When I was 14, I experienced something life changing in many ways. I went from playing in a five game soccer tournament on the long weekend, to spending 11 days in the hospital almost dying.
The short version is that I ended up with what the doctors decided was ulcerative colitis, although they were never sure. It came out of no where. It was extremely painful – the worst pain I ever felt up to that time or since then. On the pain scale, that was a 10. I remember one time laying in bed, barely awake, not moving because it hurt too much. My mother was standing over me and I asked her to move because her breathing was hurting me – it felt like a load of bricks being pushed down on me. That’s how bad it hurt.
The recovery took months. My intestines healed quickly, but the rest of me took a long time. My body had been drained of everything. I never felt fully recovered physically for a long time.
The incident changed many things in my life. Here’s just a couple of ways.
I learned my own mortality. When you come close to dying (and that was a distinct possibility – I was told my intestine could have burst at any time) you get face to face with your own mortality.
I experienced God and talking with God in different ways. I laid in bed and just cried and talked with God in the moments I was alone. I had no other option and I took the opportunity to get to know God.
Health became important – It’s part of why I took up long-distance running years later.
When you experience something like this, your life changes. It’s not a matter of whether you are grateful for this or regret it. No, rather, it’s that it’s new to life and so you adjust.
Thinking about this week has changed over the years. At first I dreaded this week because of all the memories that came with it. Now, it’s more just a week in which I remember that life changed – no fear of it anymore.