Three weeks ago, we received news that the sponsor of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society team we've been riding for had opted to allocate charitable efforts in other directions next year. Although we understand the corporation's need to streamline expenses in this economy, the announcement was heartbreaking for both The Lizard and me.
We had known for a while the National Multiple Sclerosis Society was planning to roll out a new website for 2013, and we excitedly anticipated what we hoped would be a much more user-friendly participant center.
The new website debuted early. 2012 fundraising was brought to an abrupt halt. I was a mere $5 from reaching High Roller status. I would have donated that much myself had I known time was out. Once again, my heart was shattered.
This added to the chaos already going on in my head and heart. I had been unable to ride this year's event, my first time ever as a High Roller, at the last minute, thanks to a rekindled undiscovered injury from my March bicycle wreck. Initially, before we knew I had injured my back in addition to my wrist, my diagnosis was not a pleasant one. Full recovery was not likely. Healing wasn't going to happen.
I wasn't sure how far I would be able to ride once my body does finish rebuilding, assuming it does. And now, we had no team.
(The corporation that sponsored the team I rode for hopes to have a team in 2013, but both The Lizard and I feel what limited team resources are available should go to employees of the company and their family members, not to outsiders like us.)
Both The Lizard and I stewed.
In addition, my work group moved to a new floor, and along with this being my employer's busiest time of year, there was not much time to work on a new snowflake pattern booklet. Inspiration and motivation were running a tiny bit dry.
Then something magical happened. Twice. Pure magic. The kind of magic that comes from on High.
First, the worst of my back pain DID begin, albeit turtle slow, to heal. My back was getting better, even though it wasn't supposed to. More medical attention and a new diagnosis. I still have degenerative disc disease brought on by trauma to the disc. My arthritis is still a huge factor. But I am no longer considered "severe." I am between moderate and severe. Yay a thousand times for hyaluronic acid! (And plenty of sleep, plenty of water, no sugar, no red meat, lots of stretching, lots of prayer...)
As I prepared for my first session of physical therapy, to the music of my iPhone, of course, I received notification from a vigorous supporter stating he would be jump-starting my 2013 fundraising drive.
I had my first donation, and I hadn't even registered yet. Something inside me swelled. Something I haven't felt in a very long time.
For weeks, The Lizard had been coaching me that if I think or say I can't ride 75 miles in a day, I would not be able to ride 75 miles in a day. Twice in a row to boot. He said I would have to say AND believe I CAN ride 75 miles in a day. Twice.
Something that's been absent inside me ever since June began to blossom. It grew, and grew, and grew.
For about six years now, The Lizard has fantasized about forming our very own MS-150 (now BikeMS) team. He has been saying for what feels like forever that a Snowcatcher jersey would be the coolest jersey in the entire MS-150.
What if we formed our own team? What if I designed our jerseys? And shorts! Must have matching shorts!
What if I do finish another snowflake booklet, and what if I do indeed raise enough money next year to be a High Roller in 2014? To RIDE as a High Roller in 2014. To ride again. To ride 75 miles in a day again. Back to back. What if I set the goal, believing I can?
I believe this new enthusiasm growing inside me just might be my best Christmas present this year.
5 NOV 2013 UPDATE: I'm now registered for next year's ride. My new fund-raising page is located here.