Choosing a single instance when following the light revolutionized my life seems impossible. Each time I have stopped and listened to my own inner voice something magical has happened. As a child, I recall setting up dominos in rows and mazes just for the pure joy of observing the chain reaction when they connected and came tumbling down, simply to be built again in another unique pattern. In a similar way, my actions of listening and acting have created a series of chain reactions. Each new “domino” brings something new. New freedom. New insight. New joy. New life. 


Since coming to West Hills I’ve found myself placing Dominos closer together with profoundly transformative outcomes.


Last November, I requested a care committee. I couldn’t define or explain precisely why. I just knew I needed more joy in my life, and I was tired of always feeling alone. Last spring, I began EMDR therapy for post-traumatic stress. Soon afterward, I chose to leave a job I loved and risk trying something new. Over the summer, I celebrated every Friday at the beach with my children and friends as I waited for the right job to surface. In mid-August, I took a job in Pinedale, Wyoming.


I’ll travel to Pinedale seven times this school year and work from home the rest of the time. This job has brought new energy. When home, I’m fully present with my children every afternoon and I have time for chores around the house that are meaningful to both Ryan and me. My commute to work takes 30 seconds as technology connects me with co-workers, children, and families far away, in interesting new ways that remind me why I love my job.


Everything in Pinedale is new to me—climate, people, culture, nature. I have watched a moose cross a street, and I walk often near Pine Creek, a small river that runs through town. 


But there is something else about Wyoming that has affected my ever constant transformation: I was there when I learned that Griffin died. That evening I sat near the river taking in all of the peace, hope, and love that this small body of running water had to offer. I’m glad I lingered there that night. This River is an anchor that holds the power to both embrace and calm a storm simultaneously.


In the wake of Griffin’s death, I observed another anchor. One I have never had in my own life. Nonetheless I could see this man’s light shining so brightly in the midst of his darkest grief.  For weeks after Griffin’s death love overcame me in floods. Love that others had experienced through Griffin.  Love that had been poured into Griffin his entire life. Love that I had begun to experience myself but had not been able to name; for the first time in my life, I knew what a father’s love looks and feels like.


As I think back on all of the life changing decisions that I’ve made, I now see that I acted out of love. Love for life. Love for others. Love for myself.


This is the beauty of following the light. Of listening. Of love. We may not always know how important our dominoes are when we put them down. A single domino can be profound. A lifetime of dominoes can leave a flame that never dies.

—Sarah Blanchard