What Now?

April 5, 2020

I have long believed that we each control our own destiny, reality and life. But then my accident happened to me (not unlike how the current Coronavirus crisis is happening to us). I use that language quite specifically: IT happened TO me. I did not choose, invite or set myself up for the event or fallout in any way, shape or form. But once it occurred — despite serious physical and brain injuries, horrific psychological trauma, complicated subsequent surgeries, multiple ongoing treatments and complex prolonged recovery — I worked to find slivers of goodness amid an unimaginably nightmarish situation to the very best of my ability, which was severely limited. Life is a series of opportunities, some welcome, others far from it. How we respond is what defines our journeys.

I felt an infuriating sense of stagnancy for half a year, as if the world were passing me by — largely due to the fact that I could not do much of anything other than heal for six long, painful months of intense recovery, as I was reminded repeatedly by my compromised body and mind. Nothing on the health front changed with any haste, certainty or linear trajectory, and while I feared nothing would ever progress significantly, I consciously gave myself an extended period of time to be, to breathe, to heal, to allow the process to unfold.

Now, here I am, seven months after that devastating accident — seemingly ready to reemerge and resume a life I loved, envisioned and crafted alongside humanity, yet wholly unable. I haven’t done anything close to what I want to do, what I feel I can achieve, what I aspire towards — but with my own life put on hold and the world turned upside-down, I struggle with how possibly to move forward. Vacillating back and forth between actively searching and openly surrendering, I wish for things, I do things, I await things, I enact things — on both personal and professional fronts — though without any real headway, lasting impact or hopeful prospects.

Sudden stagnation, stop, standstill of unknown duration, distress or direction is neither easy for, nor desired by anyone — certainly not this purpose-driven grassroots activist who feels her best when being of service, doing for others and engaging in meaningful hands-on work. People often say, “I can’t wait to see what you do with your life.” “You’re going places.” “The world is yours.” Well what about when it’s not? What of those terribly trying times? These moments without activity, advance, anything at all (as it can overwhelmingly seem)? I may be proud of who I am, what I have to give, how I show up, the way I have long gone through life… but to what end, when no longer able to do in the way I see fit? What now? What next?

Read more of my journey here

© 2020 Erin Schrode. About Erin. Contact.

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