Counting diamonds in the road of life


“Every road has led us here today. Life is what happens while you’re making plans. All that you need is right here in your hands.”

– Lyrics from Diamond Road by Sheryl Crow and Marti Fredericksan

Everything is relative. I thought I was having a bad day, a bad week, maybe even a bad year. And then I received a message from a friend who has come to mean a lot to me.

As if fighting Lyme disease alone were not enough, Kim was injured in a serious riding injury, thrown from her horse one year ago.

Tough times. She has been supportive and understanding as my son continues to battle Lyme as well. Kim wrote that she had been having a stressful, difficult time of it, continuing to work full time as a social worker while receiving daily intravenous medication to fight the pain, numbness and tingling of chronic Lyme.

Her day turned brutally worse when she received word that a bus in her city had exploded and was on fire.

A wheelchair-bound man who she had long ago befriended was trapped inside. This sweet, kind-hearted man was too handicapped to save himself, and by the time others who had escaped realized he needed help, it was too late.

Kim said she was always impressed by Kenny’s remarkable mind and his positive outlook, as he struggled with incredible physical challenges due to cerebral palsy.

“All of his life he was trapped in a body with CP, and in the end, he was trapped in the worst way imaginable,” she wrote to me.

A few years ago, another friend wrote that she was struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of a friend, age 32.

Message to us all. While going through his personal things, a recorded message was found which said, “If I’ve moved on by the time you hear this, think about the great times behind and the joyous times ahead. I’ll be seeing you in a better place.”

It was a hauntingly uplifting message. There is much truth to the fact that life is unfolding for each of us in ways that we cannot even pretend to see or measure or understand.

Life on a farm is a mini universe of its own, giving us a glimpse of this enormous truth. A plan is made, then must be altered due to circumstances, big and small. A birth, a death, a storm, a drought.

Life’s lessons. One simple change, in matters beyond one’s control, and an entire plan is scratched. Life is what happens while we are making plans. We are dealt big breaks and major setbacks along the journey. We are trapped in all sorts of visible and invisible ways, all a part of life’s mystery.

And sometimes, we are set free in ways that are not at all the means we would choose.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.