Trust the ‘rightness’ of what happens

My early experience of mountains was the gently ascending roads of the Adirondacks in New York state. Even the hairpin turns as we gradually climbed the 5,000-foot Whiteface Mountain weren’t scary.
But it was a different story when I first visited the Canadian Rockies with its 12,000-foot peaks—especially as we travelled above the tree line on sometimes treacherous roads.
A year before we moved to Kansas, we took a weekend winter jaunt to Jasper with our good friends, Karl and Winnie. We stayed in a nice hotel, hiked, and roasted wieners in the snow.
Then, the group decided to climb a mountain.
With trepidation I went along. But early on the climb, we had to crawl up a treeless mountain with a 45-degree slope. At the foot of the slope was a raging icy river.
It was too scary for me, although Karl said he would support me.
I should have trusted Karl because he had been the medical doctor for a team that climbed Mount Everest. But I didn’t! All I could see in my mind’s eye was two small children without a mother.
Finally, they went on without with me. I was too far away from the hotel to find my way back, so I climbed on a huge boulder in order to see any bears.
Those three or four hours by myself in the wilderness were life-changing for me.
My oldest child was eight years old and already had a life of her own. And I realized that it was unfair to expect Howard to give up mountain climbing because of me.
Obviously, it was time to plan the rest of my life. So I did! By the time they returned from their expedition, I had a wonderful plan.
Part of that plan was to earn a master’s degree in literature. And I began working at it immediately.
I read and read. First it was Leo Tolstoy and other Russian authors of his time. I read their novels and their biographies, thus familiarizing myself about their era.
Then I became fascinated by the English Romantic poets—Lord Byron, his good friend, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and other poets of the time.
After a year of reading the classics, we moved to Kansas and I immediately sent an application letter to Wichita State University graduate school. Even though I had a degree in English literature, I was turned down—flat! I was told I would have to first enroll as an undergraduate.
That was not part of my plan!
As a result, I turned to my other love—writing. And later got a master’s degree in communications.
Then after 25 years of public relations writing, I was ready for my most exciting job of all: writing my column, “This Side of 60.”
I was never sure why I was turned down by Wichita State, but I have a pretty good hunch. Later, I read my application again and I had misspelled “Whichita,” not once, but several times.
Just imagine, if I hadn’t misplaced that “h,” you probably wouldn’t be reading this column today! And I would have missed a wonderful life.
Always remember how important it is to trust the rightness of what happens in your life—even if you don’t understand it immediately.

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