Today is the 35th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. I always remember on this day that sometimes not getting what I want is a good thing.
My father had camped near the mountain sometime in the month prior to its eruption. He came back with some pretty amazing photographs. I was ten years old and didn’t think about the hazards. I begged and begged and begged to go camping there so I could see the gentle little puffs of ash for myself. We set the date but then something came up and we couldn’t go.
I was crushed and spent a good bit of Friday and Saturday sulking. I remember Sunday I was sitting in the back seat of our asthmatic old station wagon with a little black raincloud over my head on the way to some stupid boring errand. Because we were driving on the freeway we didn’t hear the noise of the eruption like others in the region did. One of my parents noticed a smudge on the horizon and turned on the radio.
Some people made it out of the campground we’d planned on – there’s a very famous series of photos from Strawberry Ridge taken by a guy with a motor drive on his camera. Obviously he made it out. But some people didn’t make it. Our station wagon wouldn’t have gotten us out in time.
Am I prepared for not getting what I want? I want to earn Shodan – and learn and grow even more after that. I want to teach Karate. These are big dreams, but let’s face it – any number of things could happen to bring that dream to a screeching halt. Does that mean I should just give up? Absolutely not. Yes, I’ll be crushed if something happens and I can’t continue with Karate. But I need to believe that I will adapt and even thrive if the worst should happen.
I have a number of things in my life that are worth pursuing. I still enjoy beach combing, photography, and digital art. I am a substitute water fitness instructor, so I’ve seen roughly twenty five brave people exercising in spite of a wide variety of medical conditions. I have my dog and my family. And who knows, if ever I can’t do Karate, maybe I’ll go back to playing flute! All this will still be there for me if the worst happens.
I know – I could bounce back. There are some great stories out there. I met a man who had a terrible motorcycle accident years ago – he’s still an awesome Karate instructor. If something happens I will make every effort to bounce back. But still – there’s always the possibility that I won’t get what I want. Am I prepared for that? Yes – because of that lesson I learned on Volcano Day, I am prepared.
Are you prepared?