Monday, October 5, 2009

10/5 Home and safe; Mandela to be on ESPNU on Thursday, Sparkling, Beatitudes, "Differently Abled"

Mandela was rendered "parentless" on July 1 when our ordeal began, so it was an important reunion and part of the recovery process for us all. I got to do the mom things, like cry for the first time about my boy going off to college, straighten up his room, buy him a lamp and a rug, make things more homey, feed him, hear about his life. Chuck climbed the five flights of stairs several times to Mandela's dorm room and mostly bore quiet witness to the re-knitting of our bonds and he allowed me have several good cries throughout the weekend.

A: Is it terrible for you when I have melt-downs?
C: No, I derive great strength from it. It helps me know that you need me.

We stayed in a nice hotel with a big bed and feather comforter (at a cheap rate, compliments of Heather) only 5-10 minutes from campus and made several trips back and forth over the weekend. Mandela got to go in for 3 plays on Saturday (vs. Columbia) but Princeton was badly beaten on three costly turnovers.

His coach says he'll be playing a lot on Thursday in Princeton's home game vs. Colgate to be aired on ESPNU, Thursday evening at 7 pm.

On our trip out there Friday, Chuck was exceptionally articulate and clear for a majority of the day. He talked at length about his thinking, his concerns for his family, his faith and questions about his condition.

A: Do you think about people?
C: I only think about people when I see them.
A: What do you think when you see them?
C: I look for the sparkling.
A: The sparkle?
C: The sparkling in people. Some people have it. Some people don't. I look for it.

We talked about the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount and tried to recite them together. We told the story of "The Prodigal Son" to each other and both got teary eyed. Between the two of us, I'd say we cobbled the whole thing together.

I had a tough time this weekend experiencing myself with a "disabled" husband out in the world where nobody knows us or our story and visited a place called Pity City for a day. Had difficulty tangling with the wheel chair. Lost my purse. Got lost on campus. Lost Chuck in an elevator for all of 10 minutes. Lost my composure.

Got it all back -- my purse, my bearings, Chuck, my composure -- with some rest and a decision to pay close attention to the words I use in my own mind to describe the situation. I've decided to replace words I've heard like "disabled," "impaired," or "deficits," with words like "changes" and "differently abled." The fastest way for me to become completely miserable is to focus on how others might view us from the outside rather than on how I'm experiencing things from the inside. The inside experience is one of hope and a deep sense of knowing that all is well.

I'm discussing an employment possibility tomorrow with the owner of a privately-owned nursing home facility in Barberton while our neighbor Ruth takes Chuck to his outpatient therapies. Stabilizing our financial situation continues to be a complex undertaking with many unknowns. A wage and benefits for me would create a much-needed base for us. However, Chuck still requires 24 hour care to keep him safe, so it's an interesting predicament. If we didn't laugh and hug so much, it would all seem a lot scarier.

Good to be away. Good to be home.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't help but be in mnd of the Paul Simon lyrics: "No I would not give you false hope
    On this strange and mournful day
    But the mother and child reunion
    Is only a motion away, oh, little darling of mine."
    Sounds like life if full of these moments that turn on a dime from comedy to tragedy; from comfort to fear. Wishing you inspiration for ways to refuel and replenish that which is hopeful and heartful within you.
    Lots of love.