Home -- Your Journey Has Begun About Chapters Images Sponsor Contact Home Hello. I'm Sue. This website was created because I have a story to tell. As you can probably surmise from the title, it's the story of a journey. Two journeys, actually. The first is a journey of 32 years down a hard road of more than 40 surgeries toward a crossroads. One road I know because it's the road I'm on. The paving stones beneath my feet are warped and cracked, and each step costs in blood and pain. The other road, no matter where it might lead, will also cost in blood in pain, so how do I choose when my options are agony and agony? I've long suspected this particular crossroads might be somewhere along my way, so arriving here did not suprise. What did surprise was HOW I arrived. An unexpected seismic shift picked me up and flung me here, rather sooner than I would have expected or wanted, and in so doing showed me the past still has the power to harm. So what do I do now? Do I stay on this road which -- as cracked and buckled and bloodstained as it is -- is at least familiar? I can only see enough of the other road to know it's steep and treacherous, and a few steps in there's a black pit I must leap to have any chance of reaching the other side. Preparing for that leap will require a monumental sacrifice, which means there's NO possibility of ever coming back. What if I make this sacrifice, but don't make it past the pit? What if I DO make it past the pit? What then? Will I survive the climb? I've carefully, almost excruciatingly weighed my options, and as frightened as I am by the unknown road and the sacrifice I must make to reach it, the road I'm on frightens me just as much. It exacts its own kind of toll, you see, and not just in blood and pain. It's slowly stealing my energy, relentlessly draining my spirit, and inexorably carrying me away from wellness. It's killing me one cruel slashing step at a time, and as I contemplate the crossroads, contemplate the awful road I know, contemplate the black pit and the unknown road beyond, I must also consider the question of whether or not I have enough left in me for either road. Over the last several months, as I've been standing still at this crossroads, studying the terrain both within and without, THAT has been the most preoccupying question. I confess the weary part of me hasn't wanted to care about anything but finding a soft place to lie down and give up, but another part of me has argued that I must have SOME strength, or I could not have arrived here. I'm battered and broken and oh so tired, but damn it I'm still standing. The seismic shift which flung me here dropped me on my knees, but I got back up. I always get back up. Always. ALWAYS, and with any next step I take -- whether I must jump, or suffer my feet to be slashed to ribbons beneath me -- I need to remember that. And in remembering, I've decided I want to do more than just trudge toward my undoing. I want the chance to be well again, and that means I must leap toward that unknown road. So I'm going to try. And so my journey has begun. The stanza below is an excerpt from a song I wrote nearly half a lifetime ago, which eerily captures this moment in my evolution. This website is named for the song, and as my journey begins, I've decided to document each step, each stumble, the daunting leap, and whatever lies beyond. As content is added, I'll also be describing more of the road which brought me here. In the meantime, check out the About and Images pages for a more intimate introduction. Please check back often. Lend me a measure of your compassion and grace as I seek to find my own. I may still be standing, but I shall stand stronger if I know I'm not standing alone. Thanks for reading. Sue Howard A wise man asked me once to look around me. He asked me what I see. I said, 'I can see nothing, only mountains in all directions.' 'Look past them,' the wise man said to me. So I looked again, looked hard, at all the mountains 'round me, And tried to understand. 'Perhaps,' I said, 'if I could climb them, I could see beyond them.' He gave a smile, a nod, and as he turned away I heard him say: 'Your Journey Has Begun.' Excerpt from 'Your Journey Has Begun' -- ? 1995-2016 Susan M Howard / Arietta Productions Logo, Website Design, Web Content & all Graphics ? 2016 Susan M Howard / Arietta Productions. No portion of this site or its contents may be used without written permission from Susan M Howard / Arietta Productions. Click here to contact.