As I get older and more comfy in my own skin, I find new ways of demonstrating the starry-eyed openness I have to the world around me. I have spent years honing the deepest parts of myself, and I have learned how to experience heart-felt joy even amidst gruelling seasons of challenge. I draw an endless well of happiness from the goodness that I see in life, and love nothing more than to join in with activities that release free-flowing joy into the world. I choose to find positivity in all things.
I am particularly fond of being cheeky. There is a special delight that comes from pushing social boundaries in a way that splashes some sparkle on an otherwise ordinary moment. To be clear, I am the person who goes out of my way to avoid confrontation and to prevent hurt, but I must confess a personal preference for impish play. This photo was taken at my sister’s wedding, where I had the honour of being the head bridesmaid.
This was a wonderful day in Wodonga, September 2004. I remember it as being jam packed with love as we all gulped back tears watching my sister marry the man of her dreams. I was so truly happy for them, and thrilled to have been invited to help in such special way. Sharing important moments with people I love is a huge priority to me. Unfortunately though, the wedding date was supremely inconvenient because I was scheduled to be away on a teaching placement in Bega NSW. The shortest route from there back to Wodonga was 411km and would take five and a half hours, at best. However, the Snowy Mountains lived up to their name, sending late snow which made this ‘best’ case scenario irrelevant. The journey ended up being a long and scary one that put my priorities to the test.
I started out on the Friday afternoon straight after school, expecting that my long drive would be rewarded by a late dinner with my family in Wodonga that evening. I was driving a car that we had only bought a couple of weeks prior, which was wonderful, except for the fact that I wasn’t completely familiar with the way it handled. On setting out, I noticed grey clouds overhead but didn’t think too much of it. After about an hour I was faced with snow fall and dangerous weather reports all over the radio. I had no snow chains, so I decided to drive up through Canberra instead of cutting across the mountains through Jindabyne. This added an extra hour to my trip, pushing my reward back further. To make matters worse, the bleak weather made a drive as the sunlight disappeared earlier than I expected. As my vision worsened, my anxiety grew. The weather reports told me things were bad. It was one of the worst late snowfalls that this area had seen for a long time. I was nervous. The sensible driver inside me was screaming at my inner speedster who wanted to finish the drive fast. I knew that slowly and safely was the only way.
After a few hours I was tired and nervous yet still so far away from home. The light snowfall of this dark night marred my visibility. I had my eyes peeled but still I couldn’t see properly. I was actually getting scared because I saw several animals fleeing the area. I figured they were escaping the bad weather on the way. I started to wonder if I should be driving at all. In the next instant, almost as if to confirm my fears, I saw the shadowy form of an animal spring from the dense bushland that had been hidden by the blackness. I slammed my breaks on in terror but it was too late. I quickly realised that I had just hit a small kangaroo. It had jumped across the pathway of my new car allowing me to catch only a glimpse of its tail as it hopped away. I stopped to look for it, and to check for damage to my car. The car was dented but OK, but the kangaroo was long gone. To this day I don’t know what happened to it.
I was shaken. I got back in the car and calculated how long the rest of my trip was going to take. On the map I had hours to go, but the radio told me I couldn’t turn back because of the deteriorating weather. I mustered every brave resolve and pressed on.
After only ten minutes of driving, a turn of good fortune reminded me that goodness always prevails if you can hang in there long enough. From out of nowhere, an ambulance turned onto the road in front of me, and for the next hour it lead me clear of the dark snowy roads. In this one moment I was elated in gratitude as I welcomed a miraculous halo of peace and security. It was a late night arrival to my mum’s house, but I was filled with appreciation. Not only did I make it, but I had been blessed by goodness which had carried me through to enjoy a weekend with my family.
I realise that this story is full of chance and coincidence, but I choose to draw encouragement from every goodness that comes across my path. Stories like this one encourage me to believe that things can always turn out well in the end. The sparkling joy on my face lasted all day. It combined my relief at making it through that horrible journey, with my deep gratitude for all good things, with the defining love I have for connecting with people that I love, with the preference I have for fun that is just a little bit edgy and irreverent. When I look at this photo I know that the darkness of that terrifying drive magnified the sweetness of my sister’s wedding day like nothing else could have.
In all areas of my day to day life, I give myself completely to my belief in goodness. With all that I am, I have invested into revealing every part of the goodness in myself, which then enables me to shine a light on the goodness in everyone around me. The more I expand my capacity for freeing my own goodness, the greater my ability to effect others to the same end. When our investment is in the ongoing release of goodness, the floodgates of purity open, and its wholesome flow nourishes us all.