Not to sound like the teaser to a typical Medium article, but one of my favorite vinyl instagrammers sustained a serious brain injury in a bike accident a few months ago and has found herself happier than ever.
Mio works at a record store in Gothenburg, Sweden (also home to one of the finest contemporary psych rock bands, Hollow Ship). Mio has been posting artistic photos of albums for a few years, most recently focusing on body art to complement the album covers. Perusing through her astonishingly well executed posts could easily eat up a good chunk of your day.
Her last post before the accident was this striking recreation of the artwork from Sufjan Stevens’ classic album Come On Feel The Illinoise.
Although the brain injury she sustained effected her cognition and abilities, Mio is happy with what the experience has taught her. Chief among those lessons is the fact that we are not in control of our lives. The feeling of control is exposed as illusory in the face of disease, accidents, tragedies and other circumstances which we could neither predict nor prevent. In Mio’s case, the positive thing about her accident and subsequent recovery was her newfound ability to let go.
I faced this loss of control most acutely in my freshman year of college. I was in my second semester when a blow to the chest from a mere paperback book caused the subsequent appearance of a tumor. Fast forward a few weeks and I was in the hospital being treated for lymphoma. When you are eighteen years old, you feel invincible, like nothing is going to dramatically alter your life trajectory. You never even consider things like cancer or another potentially terminal illness. The faith of my youth, which had been dormant in the last few years of high school,1 became reinvigorated when I realized that I was not in control of my life. I was blessed by, and at the mercy of, God’s providence.
Though I was sick, I could still do things and appreciate what possibilities each day would bring. That summer with no hair, fighting cancer with drugs that would put me out for a whole day at a time, was one of the best I’ve had in my four and a half decades. Life was down to its very elements. Very few thoughts of the future detracted from my enjoyment of the present. I didn’t sweat the small stuff. From then on, one of my biggest challenges as the years passed by, would be to do what I could to hold on to that way of framing things.
That’s a story for another time. ↩︎