Monday, June 13, 2016
LIFE LESSONS LEARNED FROM GRACIE
When invited to speak to 75+ prostate cancer survivors of all ages, I was lost as to what to say to them that would make any sort of a difference at all. I was concerned that whatever words I uttered would be frivolous and void of meaning. Then I remembered Gracie and all the lessons that I have learned from her. It was then I felt that what I would tell them might indeed just have great meaning. I for one have found my own life the past 12 ½ years predicated on watching after her and watching her. In so doing, I personally have learned multiple life lessons.
All any of us have to do is to acknowledge that we are hurting.
Watching Gracie throughout her life, struggle with multiple physical issues. She just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes she would hit a wall, or a plant, or trip over the garden hose, or get confused where she was and was lost as to how to get to ‘home base’ again. But there was no complaining or agonizing or wondering ‘why me’ from this little one. I was aware of the sacredness of these particular moments following spinal surgery, as I watched for days and days never knowing if she would walk again. She would struggle to get up and then plop down. This became routine and sadly I was losing hope. Then one day she took a step without assistance. She took two steps and then another and then another.
I learned early on the symptoms that are unhealthy ~ Don’t trust, don’t talk and don’t feel! We must trust and move forward one step at a time.
We as humans often set it up so that we lose no matter what. We do this to reinforce the fact that we are flawed and if that is the case then there is much to fear. We linger much too long in self-imposed prisons yet with a little 22 pound dog many, many have found the courage to confront their fears and move forward.
By Gracie’s side I allow her to create the miracle. She is consistent in her behavior, pure of heart and always in the moment. She doesn’t dwell in the past or agonize about the future and what ifs! She is happy all the time. If she bumps into a stumbling block, she doesn’t let it stop her. She will find a different way around it to achieve her goal. She will throw her head back and with an aroooo I know she is happy and full of joy. She faces reality as it is, not as it was or she how she wishes it were.
Paul Hawken said, “Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.” As Gracie has struggled losing her vision, two vertebrae in her neck, and loss of her eyes, and more she just keeps on keepin’ on! She is always joyful. She is a hard act to follow. She demonstrates the art of living in the moment, the art of serenity, the art of adventure and wonder and delight. When the toaster oven ringer goes off, she is elated and ready for a corner of crispy warm toast. She delights in rolling on her back in the sunshine and taking a short nap. It is the little things~ crawling upon my lap and rolling over and knowing she will get belly rubs. To nestle into a pile of warm laundry just out of the dryer, she wiggles and wiggles. It is the little things.
“There are no impossible obstacles; there are just stronger and weaker wills.” Jules Verne
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Different paths. Different directions. Different times. Different struggles. Different doors.
What brings us to intersections when we aren't quite certain which way to go. Your heart tells you one way and your intellect tells you another. Which one wins?
So what do you do? I sit down and open the computer, and as I place my fingers on the keys I realize I am not certain what to type. So I pray for answers. It is then I type as if the answers will come and all will be figured out by this simple movement.
But it doesn't work that way. It just isn't that easy. I contemplate going into the bedroom and going back to sleep, but that's a cop out, an excuse. I have laundry to fold and a book to complete and people who I love who are struggling themselves with various issues who need my support. I have a dog having a liver biopsy this morning and trying to brace myself for whatever the answer might be, yet trying to remain optimistic.
Sometimes life is too much. Too much drama. Too much trauma. Too many people stealing my peace. Too much to handle all at once. Which road to take. So I write. I write about doors.
I have had doors that I am afraid to open. We all have. What if no one answers, what if someone does, what if it is the wrong door, what if it isn't.
From I HOPE YOU DANCE, Mark Sanders: "Doors. Holes in walls that offer us a way out or a way in. Just putting your hand on the knob and seeing if it turns can make you weak at the knees."
Opening a door might be a mistake. But could also be worth taking. From the same author and book I quote wisdom...."it's risky breathing, let alone needing, trusting, reaching out. Life is the leap of faith, the bold declaration of HOPE."
So as I wait, I put my fingers back on the keyboard. I want wisdom to come, words of comfort, words of release. For me really. I have received so much support from so many friends, as I face struggles that are of no concern to write about here. Suffice it to say they are consuming and exhausting and sometimes debilitating. But then we all have them don't we? The stuff we don't know how to handle and whether to open the door, and if we do we wonder has the door been closed too long. Or do we hide behind a closed door for fear of what is on the other side. I have no answers as of yet. But I believe the answers will come.