Yesterday, I thought I had a stroke. I was walking down a street in Chiang Mai, Thailand, having just gone to my local AIS cell phone office. I will be heading off to Vietnam in a few weeks, and I had questions about maintaining phone service while away. On my way back from AIS, I noticed the gorgeous sunset. The sun looked so orange, and it was breaking through some clouds, on it’s way down past the horizon. I stopped, looked, took out my phone, lifted up my arms to take the picture, and then I felt like this might be my last moment on earth.

I immediately thought this must be a stroke. I lost all motor skills. My Iphone dropped out of my hand to the ground. I dropped to the road on all fours. I reached for my phone, picked it up, and then dropped it again. What was happening to me? It was sort of like an out of body experience, but I was still barely in my body.

I took a few deep breaths.   I was scared and in a panic. Images of my demise were racing wantonly through my mind. Slowly, I began to feel more in control. I picked up my phone and gingerly got on to my feet. Still, I felt like it, whatever it was, could hit me again. I walked toward a woman on a bench and asked her, with a glazed look in my eyes, if I could sit down. She then said the obvious thing, “It is very hot today!” Yes, I remember looking at my weather app and seeing 100 degrees. I had not eaten in 6 hours, and drank several cups of coffee in my air-conditioned room during the afternoon hours. This lovely woman then pointed her fan directly at me, and served me a cup of ice cold water.

After a few minutes, I felt ready to amiably amble down the street. I determined that a massage was called for, in a cool room, with my eyes closed, where all this panic and fear of a stroke and an unexpected death in Thailand could be rubbed and caressed out of my body. At first, I was very uncomfortable lying there on the table, still rather shocked and startled by what had happened. By the end of the hour, and after drinking a bottle of water, I was very relaxed, and feeling right as rain.

As I travel this world, and now prepare for a trip to yet another new country, I realize there are just too many new and unfamiliar things happening for me to consider all possibilities. I am out of control. Life comes at me, and I walk in a specific direction, but how it all turns out, well, that I have to leave up to the universe. I enjoy, no, I thrive, on walking through life this way. Occasionally, like yesterday, I experienced something completely unexpected, and unpleasant, however, on balance, the wonder and awe I feel on a daily basis makes it all worthwhile.  By God I am still alive and today is a new day.

Vietnam, I am coming to drink your beer and eat your sushi and….


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Photo: flickrLima Andruška