Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The People In Our Lives

Today a lovely young woman came in the shop.  She bought a few things and as usual, we talked.  She gave me goose bumps because out of her mouth came the words I wanted to say.  "We just can't do it  And we have to have really good people around us."   We nodded and smiled and shook hands with vigor.  But she hung with me as she left. 

We're as good as the people around us.  Wow!!!!  The truth in a mouthful.  I am constantly whelmed, not overwhelmed, because that has a connotation of out of control.  I'm just whelmed...amazed, awed, grateful...all that and more.  The people around us are truely magical. 

How is it that we have been so blessed?   At the shop for example.  It's a team.   A team that would do anything for the other and yet are completely indepentent in their own right.

 Margaret.  Unique beyond discussion and yet common as air.  Beautiful, dedicated, talented, and committed to self, integrity, honesty and the truth.  Her humor.  Her strength and willingness to lift and haul.  Her forthrightness.  A valued touchstone.

 Ubaldo.  He gets more hours in a day than humanly possible.  This man is treasure.  He makes magic every day.  Magic that lifts us up.  Magic that makes us laugh.  Magic that makes messes disappear and beauty take its place.  Unique?  One of a kind! 

Alicia.  Young and lovely.  Struggling with life's truths.  Dedicated to becomming.  A most trustworthy and beautiful granddaughter. 

Daniel and Daysean.   An unlikely pair to be teamed but perfect.  Their work and dedication to the shop is undenyably critical and amazing.  Their attitute with every request is playful and competent. 

So that's the shop. 

But the shop's not our only life.  We have dear friends from church, from the movie club and from our past who have warmed us with joy, or avacados, or socks, or Brandy.  Ones we've walked with and shared life stories with.  One's that have been there forever.

We really are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with.  Jed and I have been blessed beyond any possible expectation with people.  People who expect nothing from us and yet give so much of themselves. 

We have a Christian housekeeper and a Christian gardner and a Christian caregiver.   Sounds like an old Somther's Brothers  song...."what do you think about that? "

For all those who have touched our lives, we thank God.  For the ones we will meet tomorrow, we thank God. 

The People We Go Through Life With

Friday, March 23, 2012

Walking With Wholeness

I've been asked to speak to a group of Christian women this Sat.  I eagerly said yes because I was complimented to be asked and thought I had something to share.  But now it is Thursday and I am realizing that I propably have nothing at all to share of value. 

The theme of the day is, "Walking with Wholeness."  Ironic, I thought since walking is such an issue in our home.  Next month it will be 3 years since Jed fell off a ladder and changed our lives dramatically.  Walking in any form has been a lofty dream.  Walking with wholeness?  Well....that would be off the scale.  So a few days ago I presented the topic to the men in my life, Jed and Ubaldo.  We talked about wholeness.  What makes us whole?  How do you know when you're whole?  What is the opposite of whole?  Good discussion and good people to discuss with. 

We talked about walking.  Does it mean putting one foot in front of the other or is it deeper?  Can bed or chair ridden people "walk with wholeness?" 

We're just coming out of what I am calling, "our very dark winter."  It was dark because, Jed, having gained tremendous skills after 2 1/2 years of therapy and rehabilitation, lost everything with shingles and then pnuemonia.  Our, "very dark winter" was spent with Jed in bed for 10 weeks gradually losing all he had gained after a long and arduous battle against the odds.  It was hard on him.  It was hard on Ubaldo.  It was hard on me.  We went from standing practice to monitoring temperature and fluids.  A grim winter indeed.  Whole? 

But now it's Spring.  The "very dark winter" is past and Jed is committed to regaining what he once had.  To our great joy, his skills are returing faster than we had anticipated.  He's not walking.  He was, but not now.  But he is whole.  He is whole in his soul.  He knows who he is. He's comfortable with his relationship with God.  And, even though he is not presently putting one foot in front of the other, he is "walking with wholeness."  Tonight Ubaldo said, "Jed is the most whole man I've ever met."  And he is.  So, maybe I do have something to share. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


It sounds simple.  Quad.  But it's immobility.  It's a body in place with no power.   People ask me, "how's the hubby?"  They're trying to be nice.  But "hubby"  can't do anything, literally anything, without help except push the buttons on a TV remote.  Everything.  Everything.  Everything must be done by someone else.  Food.  Bathroom.  Drink.  Nose Picking.  Eye scratching.  Ear cleaning.  Teath flossing.  Teath brushing.  Everything.  That's what quad means.  All four.  All four don't work.  That someone else is either me or Ubaldo. 

But to Jed's remarkable credit, he stays positive.  He is protecting us.  At night he prays outloud for God to take him home.  He has no idea that I hear him.  One day I told him I was worried about him.  He had been low energy for several days.  He said, "why worry, the worst that can happen is that I die and I rather look forword to that." 

When I was just beginning my adult life I remember a very sad man who lived in our apartment building.  He and his wife had just retired with hopes of living the life they had dreamed.  But, with little warning, she had died.  He wandered about lost and without purpose.  I remember him saying, "we should have lived more fully when we could." 

That's the one of the many things I have to be thankful for.  Jed and I lived life fully.  We had fun.  Lots and lots of fun.  We lived a little bit on the edge, enough to know gasps.  Gasps of joy, gasps of beauty, gasps of fear, gasps of love.  A little bit abandon.  A little bit magic. 

Quad.  Very unfortunate.  Not as we planned.  Please, dear God, take it away.  But, what we have been given is far greater that what has been taken away.  "To whom much is given, much is expected."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Following Dreams

Jed spent 2 1/2 years building up his strength and abilities.  He was getting to the point that he could see the day when he would walk, really walk.  Walk without major assistance.  Walk because he wanted to go someplace.  He worked at it.  He worked with determination and focus.  We all worked.  Standing practice.  Squats.  Over and over to exhaustion, followed by pride.  It was a dream, a future reality.  We knew it was just a matter of combining exercise wtih therapy, with nutrition, with good home practices.  We worked, and we worked, and we worked.  We bought a standing frame to help him gain strength.  He got to the point where he could stand for an hour or more, watching TV or working at his computer.  It was all linear and made sense. 

Then he got shingles.  Shingles are bad.  Jed lost all desire to work at his dream of walking.  Life became a constant need to rid him of pain.  Then it went worse.  He lost drive and stamina, but he also lost immune power.  Pnuemonia set in.  Weeks and weeks.  He spent months in bed with no desire to move toward anything but sleep. 

He wasn't even aware how long it all was, the loss of the dream.  One bad thing upon another and he became bedridden and powerless. 

But now he knows.  He remembers where he was.  He knows that the 2 1/2 years of building have been lost. 

But, remarkably, he is beginning again.  He is finding the strength, somewhere, to start again. 

Now we are practicing standing.  He is standing in the standing frame for 5-10 minutes, not the once hour.  He is seeing the dream, and is willing to start the tremendous effort to begin to follow it once again.

I have great admiration for his grit. 

We don't talk about God much.  But we both have a powerful and constant faith that we can neither define nor grasp.  It's just there.  I can't imagine life without it.  Grit and determination are wonderful.  Following dreams, however basic, are important, but life without faith would be really awful.