When God closes a door, He opens a window.
In French there is a somewhat similar proverb:
A quelque chose malheur est bon--
which can be translated as: A bad thing leading to a good thing.
Today I was thinking about the back problem that affected me when I was in my mid-thirties. At the time, my life seemed perfect. We just moved to Ohio and bought a big house. My children, then 7 and 12, were in a good school and doing well, and I had gone back to work for a great company after getting a MS in Chemistry. I was starting to forget the difficult beginnings and I was enjoying life.
At work, I shared a lab with four other chemists. We developed methods of analysis for pharmaceutical products, vitamin B12, Cepacol gargle, Oil of Olay, and others, and I used state of the art equipment. Before running an analysis we had to prep the samples using various solvents that usually came in 4 gallon jars. There was no space for more than one jar of each type of solvent in our third-floor laboratory. When we used it all we had to run down to the basement and carry a new heavy jar up the three floors through the metallic stairs. No solvents were allowed in the elevators.
After a year in the lab, I woke up one day unable to walk. My left leg wouldn’t carry me. Long story short, the doctors diagnosed a slipped disk in my vertebral column and bluntly told me I couldn’t continue to work standing on my feet all day long and carrying heavy things. I should shift career. I couldn’t believe my ears.
Anyway, my parents brought me to Boston where they lived and had many friends in the medical field. A neurosurgeon ordered a special brace for my back that I had to wear for six months under my clothes and six other months when I drove. I learned to bend my knees before I carried anything. My company gave me a leave of absence for one year.
Determined not to remain idle at home, I applied for the Ph.D. program at the University of Cincinnati and was accepted. A new life started for me. I spent more time with the children, driving them to their various after-school activities, but I always had a book in my bag. I read and studied while attending soccer games and clapping hands, while watching ballet or skating lessons. Soon, our dining room became a study room with my books spread over the big table. The children often joined me and we made a very studious group.
I graduated four years later and was hired as manager of a lab. No more standing on my feet. The job turned into an interesting career with international traveling, until I took an early retirement to follow my dream and write novels.
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I never regretted my second time around in school. My back problem had been a blessing in disguise.
Have you experienced a time when a problem led to something good?
Mona Risk is a USA TODAY bestselling author of sweet--and not-so-sweet--romantic comedies. You can view all her books at www.monarisk.com or sign up for her newsletter.
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