I'm finding myself in a doctor's office, again... My son has just taken off his shirt to get his chest examined. The sight of the gaping hole at the level where his chest bone should be has become so familiar that it's not shocking to me anymore. The doctor isn't visibly shocked either, it's her daily job to examine sick kids and kids with deformities. But when she starts talking I can hear the worry in her voice. 'I think it has gotten worse since the last time I saw him and maybe the time has come to do something about it' she says...
After a good but long pregnancy I gave birth to a healthy baby boy back in August 1999. Healthy at first glance that was.... Because a few weeks after his birth we began seeing the first signs that his development didn't follow the statistics for healthy baby boys. What started out as just a feeling that something was wrong resulted in a diagnosis of an autistic disorder and the assumption that he probably suffered from some kind of connective tissue disease in the years that followed.
I can't recall all the hours I've spent in hospitals, therapist offices and the rooms of alternative healers over the past 14 years. Sometimes leaving these spaces with feelings of hopes, other times leaving with feelings of despair, worrying what the future had in store for him. But 14 years is a long time, long enough for me to learn some valuable life lessons. Like the lesson of Riding The Horse When You Get There.
While watching the Mountain Men TV show on History Channel one day I was impressed by the attitude of these old cowboys. They lived day by day, surviving in the harsh landscape of the mountains of North America. Never knowing whether they would be able to gather enough food to survive a long, cold Alaskan Winter. Not knowing whether they would survive the next encounter with a grizzly bear or a mountain lion. One of them used this expression that hit home with me: "We'll ride that horse when we get there". It's about not worrying about things that might or might not happen in life, it's about choosing to deal with things when they actually show up instead of wasting energy on worrying over things you don't control and may never happen at all.
I began learning that lesson long before I ever heard the expression. While the old and weathered mountain man had put the words to it, it was put into action by some of the inspiring people that crossed my life path over the years. One of them in particular seemed to live and breathe the expression. While facing situations that would make a lot of us feel depressed, feared and hopeless, he makes the best of things. And it was his living in the moment and zest for life that really made me realize that there's nothing to be gained from worrying over things that might someday happen other than maybe a bad stomach ulcer. It's better to fully embrace and enjoy the good times and deal with the difficult times when they arrive. That's early enough.
So while my son is putting his shirt back on and the doctor explaines what kind of tests she would like to do in order to find out if his chest deformity has now reached the point where surgery is needed to relief his heart and lungs from his inward growing chest bone, I remember the expression. While fear and panic try to get a hold of me, squeezing the air out of my lungs and making my heart race, I calm myself down with my new found mantra: We'll ride that horse when we get there.
And when we get there I hope it will prove to be a kind and gentle horse...
This post can also be read on my blog Life Through A Thousand Stories
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