We develop, we prosper, but then something changes. The environment we live in alters and what was correct before is no longer suitable. The direction is wrong. At this point we have a choice: continue with our old ways or take an alternative route. No longer reaching up, but reaching out into a different space – looking for more light, escaping the darkening canopy.
An alternative route
Life with chronic illness is like this. We move our lives along a particular path, confident we are doing the right thing that will give us the best chance of happiness. However, like what happened to the tree on my walk, illness can strike, surrounding us, darkening our view. We have a choice at a time like this. Do we try to fight through, breaking out of the gloom, or do we look for a fresh way?
The branch was reaching for this alternative way. It could do this because of the work the tree had done. Providing stores of energy to take the chance, to grow away from the old way. I loved how the new branches respected the older part of the tree, acknowledging what it had already done, and the old part of the tree could be laid to rest, gently and with reverence. We, as people living with chronic illness, should also accept we cannot be who we once were, but we can be our new selves, growing from our old selves.
This walk, although short, helped me to understand how I should live, embracing the change. To be a new me. Although I have illness in my life, I can use it to make me a better person. In reward, as I made my way back home, a rainbow greeted me. Now that was memorable.