I'd been looking forward to this all week long, a little, annual get together at Corey Creek Vineyards to celebrate the end of the school year with my pals Terry, Jeannine and Heather. We'd started the tradition about three years ago on the last Thursday of the school year and every year it's been a real blast. After missing most of the past four weeks at school, and feeling somewhat out of the loop, this was one last chance at enjoying some quality time with work friends before heading off into the summer. Little did I know beforehand that mixed in with all the fun there would be some really good advice and an epiphany that just might make it a good summer for me after all...
They all saw it on my face the moment I arrived at the table. What happened? Jeannine was immediately concerned.
Three herniated disks! I answered. And one of them is "severe."
For the next couple of hours, I was enjoying my time with my friends, but I had a really hard time masking the worry I was feeling. After about an hour, I went off to smoke a cigarette and Heather soon followed.
Dude, you gotta get rid of all of that negative energy. Her head shook from side to side in a concerned manner. It's not good for ya. She could tell I was just thinking bad thoughts and feeling sorry for myself. She told me some stories about her own life and how negative experiences she'd had taught her one thing: that negative only begets negative. When you dwell on bad thoughts, nothing good can come out of it, so just count your blessings and forget about it...at least as much as you can. I completely understood.
As we carried on our evening, I kept thinking of all the things that she had told me, and really it became clear to me. Either I can go on mourning my situation or just make the most of it. If I keep a negative spin on this back problem I'm going to have a terrible summer, and that is not what I want. Yeah, I may not be able to do all of the things I would like to do, but it is not the end of the world. What bothered me more about the bad news really was the fact that I was probably not going to be healed quickly and that I'd be holed up at home for the duration of these very precious two months ahead. I was feeling sorry for myself.
I think that maybe fate brought me to spend the evening with Heather that night. Realistically, I already knew what she was saying, but I think I needed to hear it from someone. I wasn't thinking in the terms she was saying and was just ready to dwell on how my summer was going to be ruined because of my back problems. Now I know better. It is a temporary thing that will go away, and though it may take all summer long, that's not the worst thing that could happen to me. Besides, even though the MRI had showed a pretty serious condition, I do feel a lot better than I did even just a week ago and who knows, maybe I'll be healed sooner rather than later.
So for what it's worth, thank you Heather! You've got a wisdom that's beyond ordinary and I appreciate you caring enough to help me snap out of it. I am a lucky guy, with friends and family who care for me, and in the days since Thursday, quite a few of them have helped me keep some of that positive energy going. As for my condition, well I'll be headed to a surgeon next, but with any luck, they'll be able to take the pain away quickly and without much fuss. In the meantime, I'm going to go out and enjoy my summer no matter what!