What is real?
It’s the broken leg and the cast.
It’s the wound and the band-aid.
It’s the rose and the thorns.
It’s the dead hog and the Thielen bacon.
It’s the wailing over the baby boys lost in Herod’s massacre
and it’s the wonder of the birth of the Holy infant Jesus.
It’s Christmas and Lent and Easter.
Night and Day.
Death and Life.
Grave and Glory.
We had a hard night.
It’s my new normal to wake at around 2AM, and rouse my dear André to help me do the bathroom routine which includes getting out of bed, shuffling slowly and painfully to the bathroom, doing chores, taking pills, laboriously limping back to the bed, getting in bed, the process which looks a lot like picking up the dead weight of a heavy sack of flour and heaving it four feet up and sideways where it thuds into a position allowing sleep.
But when you add moving positions twice, one more bathroom trip and adjusting pillows and covers for the tenth time, it is only a tiring, tedious, agonizing interruption too a good night’s sleep.
I was diagnosed with PK on Christmas Eve 2013. My life is now a whirl of pills, PT, falls, adjustments, compromises, broken promises and shattered dreams. It includes canes, walkers, and a wheelchair on occasion. It means great difficulty walking, doing stairs, and sitting down in a chair. It can mean not thinking or talking clearly.
It also means doing Valentine’s dinner at a Wayzata restaurant at 4 PM to
assure a peaceful, crowd-less time with my love who still buy me roses and gives me a card that reads: “for my beautiful wife…”
What is Real? Like The Skin Horse says to the Velveteen Rabbit, It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. It can hurt. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.”
I remember the day light years past when I was experiencing the new pains of PK and in denial and anger over the train wreck of life changes I could foresee coming and a friend asked me, “Are you alright?” I answered rather cynically, “That depends on which part of me you’re talking about.” In my fractured world the broken leg wasn’t even in a cast yet. It was total pain with no hope of healing.
Much is still the same now but more is different. Kind of like playing an old recital piece you’ve gone over time and again until the current version is much better due to time spent practicing but with still hints of the former propensities.
What is real now is an uncanny metamorphosis. Like the blind man at Bethsaida who came to Jesus for healing and at first was made only half-well (Mark 8:22-25)—
Sometimes I see men as trees walking.
Sometimes I see only the trees.
But always though the fog and mist
I see a Sunrise coming
That will not be denied.
I feel hope not despair, joy not sorrow, peace not pain.
Right now, today, my reality includes a warm cup of tea, toast,
Sunshine in my window, roses on my table.
Though my opposite realities collide
They also coexist and create astute beauty
Including this real piece of writing from my PK heart.
“My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, amazing grace.”
15 February 2018
Amazing Grace,My chains are gone
lyrics Michael W Smith
*Note: from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary — The Difference Between ASTUTE, SHREWD, and SAGACIOUS Astute is similar in meaning to shrewd and sagacious, but there are subtle differences in connotation among them. All three suggest sharp thinking and sound judgment, but shrewd stresses practical, hardheaded cleverness and judgment (“a shrewd judge of character”), whereas sagacious implies wisdom and foresight combined with good judgment (“sagacious investors”). Astute, which derives from the Latin noun astus, meaning “craft,” suggests cleverness, mental sharpness, and diplomatic skill (“an astute player of party politics”). https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astute
**words from “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone 2007)” from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/See_the_Morning#Amazing_Grace_(My_Chains_Are_Gone) by John Newton (stanzas), “Chris” Tomlin and Louie Giglio (refrain)
*** Williams, Margery. The Velveteen Rabbit. Doubleday & Company, Inc.,1922.
pictures courtesy of: