December 10th, 2010

Test Of Character

By Trish Washburn

Sometimes, things can happen to us that test our inner character, along with a lot of other virtues we think we have.

Over 18 years ago, I had a surgery performed — soul surgery.

I received a phone call that would change my life forever. My brother Ryan had been in a car accident and he was still alive on the Flight for Life helicopter that was on its way to Madison. His vitals were barely detectable, but he was alive.

In this time of crisis, I discovered who I really was. I walked into that hospital fearful of the monumental decisions I could be facing, yet determined to handle the situation. I was the only family member in town, my parents were away on vacation.

I didn’t have to face any decisions though, because Ryan did not make it. I was left with the ugly job of having to call my parents and inform them of the bad news.

As devastating as reality was at that moment, I knew my brother Ryan was in Heaven. That belief stemmed from a conversation that we had two weeks before.

He told me that I did not have the answers I was looking for and that God was the only one that had them. I asked him how he knew that and how he was filled with faith. He simply told me he knew it in his heart and when he died he was going to Heaven.

Well, that certainly made me search deep inside. My courage came to the surface, and entered my heart and soul.

I took a hard look at the path I was on and the person that I had become. I had to face the fact that the ONLY person I had trusted with my whole self, my authentic and nasty self, was Ryan. I had to own up to the fact that I did not trust people and that I was defiant in every way. I was on a lonely road and was in need of a change. I found that change within my soul and I am forever grateful to Ryan for repeating over and over his faith-filled statement.

Why do I now choose to share this tragedy with you? What is the real purpose?

I have one reason for sharing this private event. First, how do we handle life’s situations no matter what they are? What happens when someone you love more than anything is suddenly taken away from you? What happens when your proverbial life’s rug has been pulled out from underneath you and leaves you sitting on the floor dazed and confused? What happens when you look before you and all you see is black and you feel like you are walking through Jello?

You see, it's in those moments when we discover - perhaps for the very first time - that we have some work to do on ourselves. That's when we must become our own surgeon, our own advisor and our own mentor. The process of personal development is never over, so when adversity strikes, give thanks that you have discovered the need to work harder on yourself than on anything else. This is your opportunity for growth and perhaps this can be considered as a ‘healthy pruning’.

We must trust our faith and know that good will come out of all our experiences. We were made to endure and made to succeed. We must trust that we are made to have abundance. What we are determines who we are, and that disclosure should cause us to look into the mirror and not at the faults we find in our circumstances, our God, or someone else. It is in these deep, dark and lonely moments that we discover our greatest weaknesses and through that, we discover our greatest strengths.

My mat became my sanctuary; a place to uncover and discover the deeply rooted hurt that would be my companion......forever. Yoga helped to clear the sadness and the anger from my being and to see the gifts from my dark valley experience. Yoga helped me to deepen my faith and let go of myself so that God's love could ever so carefully mend my heart. My practice helped me to change my view of life, of myself and of others to a more loving, more forgiving. and more peaceful way. Yoga meets me on my mat and conforms to who I am THAT day in the THAT moment. I am thankful....OH SO EVER THANKFUL for having 17 years with my brother, Ryan, and for having that monumental faith conversation with him. I am thankful that my daughter bears his name and that my son was born on the 10th anniversary of his death, bringing light back to a dark time and space.

We need to understand that we are perfect in our moment, even in our mess, and even through our most horrific thunderstorms we are… and always will be…meant to bloom.

Test of Character

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