Just because you don’t believe in something, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Or true.

I used to believe I was lucky.

When I was a child, I was often hurt. I bruised easily, fell frequently, took more than my share of tumbles. But every time I got back up, I thought, “Whew, that could have been a lot worse! I’m pretty lucky.”

This caused a mindset that – while I didn’t justify injuries – I always looked on the bright side.

Twist an ankle? At least it’s not broken, and I heal fast.

Ankle in a cast? Lost the job at the country club? No worries, I get to work at the drive-in with my best friend and see my boyfriend.

Fall down a flight of stairs? Crack a vertebra in my neck? Lucky! Could have broken it in half!

I believed that if I were held up in traffic, it was the work of my guardian angel. She was protecting me from encountering something worse by slowing me down and keeping me out of harm’s way.

Until I fell down on a boat. And my dad died. And I lost my right eye. And am still fighting to save my left eye. And had my heart broken again. And … And … And …

And somewhere in there, I had a crisis of faith. Is there a god? If so, why do some people have so many hardships? Is life a testing ground meant to be difficult? Sort of like, life is hard and no one ever said different.

Or is there a happy plan for everyone, they just have to find out what it is? Don’t worry, god will take care of everything. It’ll all work for the best. You’ll be ok.

Or do you wonder, like me, how can one person be expected to survive all of this? Physically, mentally, spiritually?

Everyone’s path is their own. Mine diverged from Catholic a while ago. I still believe in a god, but I don’t think god is a he. I think there is room in god for her. I believe in a kind god, and angels, and love. I believe in a god who loves to dance. I believe in the energy that runs through us all, through the universe, that draws us together. I have believed in the philosophy of taoism for decades. A philosophy that advocates, among other things, quiet over noise in order to learn and grow. Peace over conflict, anger, and judgment. And kindness.

I still believe I’m lucky. To have been in Victoria when I fell. To have received excellent medical care. To have had someone looking after me and making sure I was ok. To have had a guardian angel to help me when it all fell apart again. To have family and friends, old and new, to love me.

And to be able to say that I have had the cataract surgery that was once so feared. And it was a success. That I can see. That I do not need to have retinal surgery. That I will drive again soon. And that despite it all, somehow I am going to be ok.


  1. hnknight says:

    A good post. Can you be both lucky and frightened all the time that your luck/gifts will disappear?


    1. Jane Miller says:

      Holly, I replied on Facebook, but I will here as well, since this is the origin of your wonderful question. You ask if I can be both lucky and frightened that my luck/gifts will disappear. You brought me up short with that one and made me think twice before responding. Luck is a state of mind. So,
      unless or until my mind goes, I’ll still be lucky. I’m already losing my gifts, though that is not easily seen by most people. Parkinson’s is insidious that way. It creeps into your life and steals what you most love. That is why I push myself, why I go anyway, why I WILL sail again, why I am going fishing this week before having surgery on 2/25. So yes, I am both cheerful and scared to death. All the time.


  2. Joan Newman says:

    Janie, I’m so relieved to hear that your cataract surgery was successful. What a difference it must make in the way you see the world!
    Sending you loads of love and wishes of strength. You’re awesome, always remember that!
    J ❤️


    1. Jane Miller says:

      Thank you, Joanie! It’s like getting the world back. I can’t drive yet, but I can see! I love you so much and can’t wait to SEE YOU sometime soon!


  3. Bob Gordon says:

    A lovely and thought provoking piece from a genuinely lovely lady. Looking forward to your smile lighting up our boxing class again.


  4. Tyler Cole says:

    I also read your last post along with this one and I’m glad your eye is doing well. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be. Hang in there and know that I think of your and send my love. You are a splendid writer, I’d love to hear a tale abouts your adventures in dance or your life with your sons. Or even a story of your past to fill in gaps for people like me who have missed out on too much of your life.


    1. Jane Miller says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I’ve been told I should write a book, which makes me laugh, not only about these recent years, but growing up in a military family, teaching, and beyond. I believe, now that I have some room to breathe, I can spread my wings a bit and see what else there is to write about.


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