“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
Tonight I was given a gift. A gift of words by my writing teacher. I found her in the hallway filling her water bottle as I was hobbling my way into class.
She stopped me and said, ‘I’ve been thinking about you.’
‘You have?’ I responded. I felt honored. When a teacher takes the time to think about you, when they tell you they’ve been thinking about you, it makes you feel important like more than just a face in the crowd but an actual contributing member of the group.
‘Yes,’ she said. ‘About six years ago I was on crutches. I had broken my ankle while walking my dog.’
‘Oh no,’ was all I could think to say. It was an honest response.
‘First I had to figure out how to get back home. But I’m telling you this because I was also due to visit a friend, to basically well… to help them die. And during all of this I was also let go from my job.’
‘Yes,’ she said. ‘All true. In fact I remember thinking, okay, sets of threes, bad things come in sets of three and this is my set.’
‘It’s so hard,’ I said.
‘I remember too, looking at all of these things happening and feeling like I was being transported, it was other worldly. It was all so awful and all happening at once, you’re wandering around detached in a fog of disbelief.’
‘Yes!’ I said. ‘Thank you. That’s exactly it. Things are falling over and breaking. My dog ran into a WALL. What dog runs into a wall? I thought he broke his leg. He’s fine now. Oh, and after six years I’ve been let go from my job too.’
I kept going,
‘You reach a point and it all just doesn’t seem real anymore. I don’t want to say out loud, ‘What else can you do to me?’ because of course it can always be worse, but I feel like I’ve been beaten up pretty good.’
(random freighter in the Chesapeake)
‘Do you have an astrologer, anything?’ my teacher asked. ‘Because this thing, whatever you got going on,’ she said as she reached out her hand and drew a large circle through the air as if to outline my aura, ‘Something is going on,’ she said.
‘I agree,’ I said. ‘Something.’
We paused. I was grateful for her acknowledgement, for seeing me and the large load of invisible yet heavy baggage of random karmic krap being dragged behind me.
‘Did it eventually, you know, get better?’
‘You know, it did,’ she said. ‘I remember, I got through it, and then one day, it all lifted, and then things got really, really good.’
‘How long did it last?’ I asked feeling hopeful.
‘I would say the entire thing, about 12 weeks, 12 really difficult weeks.’
‘Thank you,’ I said. ‘Thank you so much.’
I crutched into the class room heading for my seat feeling immediately lighter, optimistic, hopeful. Amazing what a simply and unexpected conversation can do.