If you were to ask an athlete just before his Olympic debut, an artist just before the opening of her very first gallery, a musician just before he performs to his first sold out crowd or a bride just before she takes her first steps down the aisle, the odds are that they will all tell you the same thing. That wonderful, fleeting moment that they are all about to experience, although it may indeed be a first, has been imagined countless times before. So many times in fact that when it comes down to actually living out that very same life defining moment, it becomes almost overwhelmingly surreal.
For me, yesterday held the importance of a moment somewhat similar. A moment that for the past three years I have been imagining day in and day out. A moment that in the back of my mind I had well and truly perfected, right down to the very last little detail. Unfortunately however, with the gift of time comes the burden of expectation and as we are all well aware, high expectations often have a way of ending in disappointment.
Needless to say, on this particular Sunday morning after three years of patiently waiting, expectations and emotions were running at an all time high.
At first, it felt wonderful. Finally stepping back out onto that beautiful green grass to a game that I had missed more than words could say, was unlike anything I had ever felt before and despite only being out there for a little over an innings, in that very moment I was the happiest girl in the world. After the game had ended however, I was hit with a wave of emotions that to be perfectly honest, was far from wonderful. A wave of emotions that at the time, I was in no way ready for.
Sure, the wave of excitement I could handle, the extreme pride I could relish in and even the sudden exhaustion was something that I had expected, but the overwhelming sense of disappointment that was beginning to take over had completely caught me off guard. After a moment so wonderful and so memorable, what was this sudden wave of sadness?
Then it hit me; perhaps it had all just happened too fast.
Three very long years of building up this very moment into a beautiful, magical, perfect memory and then just like that, in the blink of an eye it was over.
Three years of using this very moment as a benchmark for my recovery and yet strangely enough, it appeared as though nothing had changed at all. Between waking up that morning and going to sleep that night, the world had not changed in the slightest. Angels did not fall from the heavens, fireworks did not light up the sky and coincidently enough, the whole world did not stop in celebration. It had seemed that despite my imagination telling me otherwise, one single innings of baseball was not going to magically change my life.
Despite my imagination doing its best to play tricks on me, the girl who had just lived out that very moment still has not quite reached full health and unfortunately, no amount of daydreaming is going to change that. Instead, it is yet again a simple matter of time and as much as I had hoped and prayed that this very moment would symbolise the beginning of the end; instead, it appears to be just another hurdle in amongst this seemingly never ending obstacle course and at the end of the day, that is completely okay.
At the end of the day, that is one hurdle closer to the finish line than I was the day before and at this stage of the game, that is more than I could ask for.
So while on this particular day angels may not have fallen from the heavens, fireworks may not have lit up the sky and the whole world may not have stopped in celebration; it just so happens that a few of my favourite angels were already there, with smiles almost as bright as mine and despite only playing for a brief and shining moment, it was that very same moment that had me feeling on top of the world. A moment that I can say with absolute certainty, has been my proudest strike out yet.