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