At the moment of commitment, the entire Universe conspires to assist you.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said that, and his observation has been true for me.

Any time I commit to something, it seems like the wheels of the Universe secretly turn to help make it happen.

In 1991, when my son was two years old, he developed an illness that plagued him round-the-clock. I did everything the doctors told me to do, but he got worse, not better. When he was five, as I was cooking, I looked down at the floor where he was playing, and I hardly recognized him.

He looked like a cancer victim.

It scared the shit out of me, and that’s when I knew I had to do something different. At the moment of commitment—that very same day—my chiropractor recommended that I take him to an alternative doctor named Reiko, who lived fifty miles away in Lawrence, Kansas.

Reiko told me what to remove from my son’s diet and what to add, and within the space of a summer, my son was completely healed. Unless, of course, he ate the forbidden foods, then his full-body rash and asthma returned.

During the three years that he was ill, there wasn’t time for anything other than trying to make him comfortable. Funk and I were exhausted. Said son was miserable. And our firstborn—who’d had Funk and I all to herself for four years—felt neglected.

Given that, when my son recovered, I told him that I had to start paying more attention to his sister. His response? “I’ll never forgive you for this.”

Can you imagine a five-year-old saying that?

Regardless, I had to focus on his sister. My son was a mama’s boy, still, I left my him with Funk for the first time ever and flew with my first born to Tennessee for long girl’s weekend away. I didn’t realize my son’s words had struck home to the extent that they had until I had a mid-flight anxiety attack.

Both ways.

The panic attacks were so scary that I couldn’t even think about flying without becoming super anxious, and fear grounded me for 20 years.

Fast forward to 2011, when Funk was blacklisted from Kansas City—oh the joys of being a do-gooder mayor! —we were forced to leave our kid’s childhood home, and Funk took a job as publisher of Governing Magazine in Washington, DC.

I never thought I’d be able to afford to live on the east coast again.

And while living in a big city was difficult—I love nature more than anything—DC was within 200 miles of my childhood friends on Long Island. Since Funk’s job frequently took him to New York City, I tagged along to visit them.

Long story short, it was cheaper for Funk’s magazine to spring for an apartment on the ocean in Long Beach, NY verses staying three nights in a hotel in NYC each month, so I sometimes took advantage of the studio, whether or not Funk had business in the city.

Long Beach is only 13 miles to JFK.

Whenever I took my 4-mile daily walk on the shore, there’d be planes flying low overhead coming in for a landing. This is the first time I’d seen a plane close enough to notice their beauty.

Emirates in particular had me mesmerized.

Their planes were enormous, shiny, and seemingly brand new. I began imagining what it would be like to be sitting in one, especially after I Googled them and saw how spacious and gorgeous they were inside.

However, as beautiful as Emirates was, and as lovely as the thought of getting somewhere in a matter of hours instead of days via train or ship, the very idea of walking through a jetway made me so nervous that I couldn’t think about stepping on a plane without my throat constricting.

Not until my sister became ill and needed someone to accompany her to Hawai’i for medical treatment.

Back again to the moment of commitment.

Since I didn’t want my sister to die, yet because of some archaic law called the Jones Act, there was no way to get to Hawai’i except to fly. Once I committed to overcoming my fear, the idea of getting on a plane actually excited me!

From that moment on, I looked at those beautiful Emirates planes with different eyes.

I only had three weeks to prepare, so I took a fear of flying course from Captain Tom Bunn. But when it came down to it, besides my sister, the only thing that got me on that plane was accepting that I might have to endure a 16-hour anxiety attack.

My sister never made it to Hawai’i.

She unexpectedly died 3 days before we were scheduled to leave. I drove to Florida for her funeral, and three weeks later, I made the trip to Hawai’i for the two of us.

As it turns out, I had let fear shrink my world to such a degree that my sister’s final gift before exiting the planet was giving me back my life.

Here’s to you! if you’re also not afraid to commit, like so many people are today. In my case, I know the Universe conspired to assist me the moment I made the decisions to get my son alternative treatment, and again, when I got on that plane. I am still an anxious flyer—ask Funk, I think I torture him in the two weeks preceding a flight more than I torture myself—yet I’ve never had another mid-air anxiety attack.

The Photo: Me, in 1977, in my dorm room. I hated K-12 education. The only reason I went to college is because I felt guilty leaving my mother. However, the moment I committed, I fell in love with university life, and my guilt left me. (Photo credit: Sue Norris.)

BTW: I met Funk, a professor at my college, and nine years my senior, shortly after I turned 19. Man, did that guy get lucky, or what?!