I once read that God can plan the entire scheme of time amidst all our individual free wills. If true, despite our fears and hesitations, He will always open the door, show us the way, or in my case, let us fall to get up again with a new perspective.
When sleigh bells echoed down the long hallway of the Mayo Clinic’s pediatric wing, our six-year-old son, Mathew’s, blue eyes popped open wide. An abrupt knock on our daughter, Christina’s, hospital door ushered in a plump, red-faced Santa.
“Ho! Ho! Ho! Is anybody home?”
My tall, normally stoic husband, Larry, and I fought back the tears when the man dressed in red delivered wrapped gifts with ribbon and dangling tags. One for Christina, her head wrapped in a white turban of gauze, purple bruises covering both eyes with one of them swollen shut. The other gift for Mathew. A few days before, four-year-old Christina underwent brain surgery to stop relentless seizures. She was supposed to go home before Christmas, but post-op seizures caused the neurosurgeon to keep her in hospital. As carolers sauntered toward our room, my heart wasn’t rejoicing. Why us? Why her? I was tearful and sullen.
At seven months old, Christina had her first seizure. They didn’t stop. I never imagined having a child with special needs who didn’t speak until she was four and a half.My plan for having children was very different.
After that Christmas, we had some seizure-free years when Christina developed a love for volleyball. Other years, seizures raged, leading to more surgeries a life-threatening brain injury and infection. While healing from one surgery, she tried to regain volleyball skills. Donning a pink padded helmet, made semi-wearable for a teenager with rhinestones, our girl practiced often. When a rigid coach stopped her, my discouraged child quit playing. The painful reality is, many do not understand or have time for people with special needs. But God does.
Not being able to leave Christina alone or walk during frigid Wisconsin winters, I purchased a yoga DVD. Downward Dog and namaste were all new to me, but I loved the stretches and how my body felt as the stress melted away. Christina joined in. At times, we laughed, bums high up in the air. Since Larry’s company is based in San Diego, we split our time between the two states and firmly believe that yoga on the beach is one of God’s best gifts.
Like a gentle breeze through an open window, inspiration whispered, learning to teach yoga could help others.
Sipping coffee one morning with my friend, Lolly, she told me about a retreat through a group called Holy Yoga. Honestly, I was apprehensive about the spiritual aspect of yoga and relieved to learn about a Christian yoga group. With hands pressing against beige carpet, she taught me the proper position when doing Plank pose, and the small change made a huge difference. I need to learn more, I thought, followed by doubting excuses; I’m too afraid, too old, too out of shape, and I don’t have enough time.
Warm salty air mixed with excitement as Mathew’s flight landed in San Diego. After spending many holidays in hospitals, we learned that Christmas could be anywhere if we were together. The aroma of cider and apple pie still lingered from Christmas dinner the next morning when Larry and I headed out to exchange a gift. Lots of busy shoppers were out catching the after-Christmas sales. When I stepped onto the curb, my foot found an arch on the concrete and before I knew it, I hit the unforgiving sidewalk, smashing my hand under me. I felt the bone break in my thumb. Shaken and embarrassed at the gasping holiday shoppers, I stumbled upright without the help of my injured hand.
The radiologist held the X-ray up to the light and asked, “your thumb hurt?” Replying yes, he said, “it should.”
Relief washed over me when the doctor said it was just a broken bone and would heal with the help of a metal cast. As Mathew dried dishes, we talked about my injury. It could’ve been worse (he was serious, I was facetious).
By New Year’s Eve, my solace was replaced with burning pain in my leg waking me often. Google can sometimes be a friend or foe depending on what a search brings. After typing in my symptoms, sciatica nerve pain came up along with yoga as a treatment. I promised Larry, who was also wanting sleep, that I would see a doctor. But first, I wanted to give yoga a try. Using a folded baby blanket with pink bunnies as a strap, I followed a yoga flow for sciatica pain stretching my legs and hips. There was instant improvement and within a week, zero pain.
In God’s perfect timing, an email from Lolly read, “Holy Yoga 225 Hours starts in May.” I clicked the link. While viewing the Adaptive Training video, tears slipped out as I realized two events during two Christmases, 17 years apart, had something in common. And perhaps, God was using my ungraceful fall to motivate me out of my comfort zone and into His plan for me.
I’m guessing you too have experienced something you did not plan on. Could it be your own Holy Yoga journey? Despite my free will and my plan, which did not include yoga, Christina, now 22, and I become yogis. Since starting Holy Yoga training, I’ve learned the value of a proper pose with joints stacked and shoulders back and down. Did I mention my daughter is in her third year of college? Nothing short of a miracle. She wants to work with children who have special needs, like herself. God has shown me that His plan prevails, and it is more beautiful than any disappointment.