Saturday, July 2, 2011

Small Moments of Grace

Not much happens in my world. The days come and go, the sun rises and then falls again, the seasons repeatedly turn and the traffic outside my window zooms by. As I remain here, sick and essentially motionless, I watch as everyone else hurries to work, to dinner, to a friend's house, or to some event or adventure I cannot partake in.

I long to re-enter the world of the living; to wake up one morning free from all bodily constraints, able to jump away from this bed and the disease which has taken so much from me.

In the meantime, I continue to try to remind myself that my life, with all its physical pain, sickness and struggle, is not without its own quiet moments of activity, beauty and purpose.

A couple years ago, a friend of mine from back east (who also happens to be a former boss, and one of the sweetest people you could ever know) sent me an amaryllis plant for Christmas. I watched in wonderment as it slowly transformed from a tiny bulb to six individual, colorful blossoms.

This spring the plant bloomed for a second time, going from this:

to this:

It's an interesting thing, watching a flowering plant bloom. There's a serenity to it; a sense of wisdom, elegance and quiet patience. I could do well to learn to possess such virtues.

Ironically, I've never been one who was good at resting, nor at being still. Even confined to this bed, I want always to be doing, to be accomplishing something, to know I am somehow still making a difference in the world. I struggle to just be. I appreciate nature's silent and gentle reminders that sometimes there can be beauty in merely being present to what is; to existing, breathing and hoping.

As I struggle with my forced solitude, I am happy to have a new bunny living outside my window, keeping me company. I seem to have a new rabbit living in the front yard with the arrival of every new spring and summer season. So far this particular bunny has been rather quiet, preferring only to be seen in the early morning hours or just before sunset.

Fortunately, the bunny apparently found a safe hiding place when this coyote showed up in hopes of a tasty breakfast.

Even though he probably would have had little interest in me, I was still glad there was a wall to safely separate us. :)

One morning I had the privilege of seeing this beautiful deer strolling the yard. She took my breath away.

I've had my share of the usual window nature sightings as well: a variety of squirrels, gophers, lizards, birds, birds and more birds. Here are a few of said creatures:

I'm told this is an antelope squirrel (not a chipmunk),
but I'm not convinced

Gecko (not to be confused with Geico)

Finch and Cardinal Hang Out
A pretty goldfinch

Cooper's Hawk

I mentioned in a previous post that, on "good days," my parents sometimes wheel me to their bedroom where I get to have a much nicer view of the mountains, sky and landscape. While those jail breaks have been less frequent than I would prefer, I am grateful for every one of them. It is on those days that I get to see views like this:

The view is even more beautiful in spring and summer when the trees are all in bloom. This photo was taken in winter, and that white stuff you see on top of the mountains (look real close) is snow!

Earlier this spring, my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew came to visit, and I got to see them for the first time in two years. Visits are always hard on me, and it broke my heart that I could only spend a few short minutes with them each morning. However, I was so grateful even for that time, as it was such a joy to see their smiling faces every day.

My niece and nephew had grown so much, and I absolutely adore them both. I wanted so much to play with them, to go on adventures with them, to interact and talk and catch up and just get to really know them. I wanted to tell them what a fantastic and super cool aunt I would be if my circumstances were just a little bit different. But, my circumstances ar what they are, and we all made the best of it. I hope I was somehow able to convey how much they mean to me through my silent expressions of joy upon seeing them, and my little whispers and words of affection.

Here's a small collage of photos showing some of their various adventures while they were visiting (all photos courtesy of my brother):

While I was unable to participate, I loved hearing the stories and knowing they were having a good time.

In the last few months, I also became a godmother twice-over. I am already the proud godmother to my nephew, and I am now also godmother to the youngest daughter of my best friend from college. I wasn't able to go to the ceremony, of course, but I was there in spirit, and am privileged and honored to hold the title to such a sweet little baby girl.

Jim and I are still doing very well in terms of our relationship (not so much in terms of our health). I am in continued awe and gratitude to be blessed with such an amazing man as my fiance. I only wish we were healthier, and we could see each other more often.

This past spring made 8 years since we've been writing each other every day. For our anniversary, Jim printed out all our email correspondences from the first month we began writing (back in 2003), and placed them all in a beautiful album for me. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift, and one I will always cherish.

Speaking of my health, things have been very difficult. Sometimes I prefer not to go into the details because I simply don't want to relive the physical pain of it all over again. This illness is so brutal and so utterly pervasive; there is not a single second of any day that it doesn't dominate or alter in some way. That's why these little moments of escape are so lovely, and so necessary. And that's why I am so grateful every day for their brief but welcomed grace.