Ever had one of those things happen to you which at first seemed like a curse or a tragedy, but then after a while seemed to be a blessing in disguise? You know…after some time because of the growth that we went through or the odd opportunity that presented itself because of the initial experience things turned out all right? I want to share with you an event that happened to me that really changed my life for the better, although at first it seemed quite scary and put me in a spin for almost a year.
One day way back in 1986, a bunch of my friends and I went out to play some mud tackle football courtesy of all of the spring rain that was so prevalent in the Willamette Valley of Oregon . And unfortunately for me, I ended up getting hit pretty hard during a play which dislocated my right knee. In addition to it really being quite painful, I ended up having to have a full length cast on my leg for 6 weeks. Well after they took the cast off I had to go through quite a bit of physical therapy which can be pretty painful in and of itself…. As I thought things were beginning to look up, later on that summer my knee cap became dislocated once again after I had been messing around with some friends at a party. Oh my God… I thought to myself…here we go again. As it turned out I had to have surgery on my knee this time. Well after surgery, I became really depressed…. I wasn’t sure if my knee would be stable and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to participate in any of the sports that I used to love to play.
Once again I started physical therapy. And as it turns out, when I went back to Oregon State for my sophomore year, I signed up for a PE class that was designed for folks needing rehab of some kind. Perfect I thought! Well as my knee and leg got stronger, I began to feel like maybe I could get myself back to where I was before and enjoy all of the sports that I had loved prior to my injury. So I continued to rehab and strengthen my leg and I began to notice that I was losing some weight and feeling really good about myself with all of the exercise that I was doing.
Well at about that time, a couple of friends of mine were talking to me about having participated in a triathlon (an endurance race that involves swimming, biking and running) the summer before. My ears definitely perked up and after asking them 101 questions about triathlon and their experience, I knew right then and there that I was going to set a goal for myself to do one the following summer. So now that I had a goal in hand, I really amped up my rehab routine and began to slowly incorporate running, biking and swimming into my exercise regimen. I loved it! My energy increased, my self esteem increased…my life felt like it had a purpose…I had no idea I could feel this good! So I rode that high all the way through the winter and spring while I continued to rehab my knee and exercise and then signed up for my first triathlon which was to be held that July. I had a wonderful experience in that first race even though I suffered mightily from butterflies, nerves and all! My body and knee were strong, my dad was there to root me on and I was hooked! I ended up doing four more races that summer and have done over 50 races altogether since that first day.
My blessing in disguise was a terribly painful and debilitating knee injury. It lead me into the sport of triathlon which has blessed my life in many ways. Not just in the events that I competed in, but in the way that I began to look at myself and believe in myself. It helped me realize that I COULD do pretty much anything I set my mind to. You are no different! What has been a blessing in disguise in your life and how has it made you and your life better, richer and more fulfilling?