Heroes: Bella and George

oral meme“He’s actually really small….I use him like a crutch.” ~ Bella

I’ll give fair warning – yes this post is eventually going to lead to another opinion about the recent mayhem of reactions to terrorist attacks in Europe and Africa and the Middle East…but not until the end.

Now,

first – please watch this video – I don’t think it is more than one and half minutes. If it doesn’t make you gloriously happy and astounded with hope, I’d so appreciate knowing why. I don’t mean to judge, I want to know! Actually, with the career that I’m wanting to develop – I need to know. I need to know why stories like this make some people sad or afraid.

Ok – do it, please. Watch this one:

Bella and George

Did you hear her say:

 “He’s actually really small…..I use him like a crutch” ?

I grew up with a great dane – they are not small! They are nothing less than ginormous.

My goodness – this story – this family, this mobility access project – it’s a beacon.

This success story is proof that the world has not yet totally gone to hell in a handbasket.

If we take care of ourselves – we get to choose who and what is

going to limit our perspective

about who and what is the…

can’t find another word, who and what is the enemy.

But, come on America! I’m fed up – stop rolling over to and hiding behind your shallow and selfish and vain points of view.

Stop the cover up – take your hands away from your mouth so we can see you and hear you, and for God’s sake – stop interrupting each other. Insane. It’s insane these days.

Take care of yourself – and no, I’m not referring to Botox and man scaping – I’m referring to morals and ethics and decency and intelligence.

I read an article just now that echoed exactly what upset me so much in the past week. I was  upset so much that I considered quitting everything that I’ve worked so hard for the past three years. I went into the week – even after having had a most wonderful, fun, and relaxing weekend away with a dear friend, I went into my classes feeling…yet again – ready to just quit.

I’m registered to at last start the really meaty classes in the American Sign Language – English Interpreting degree that I am seeking. By the time the crocus bust through the now frozen ground – my brain will once again be playing the language two step. I’ll be learning to hear my first language, put it through a quick spin cycle in my head, and according to my instructors hopeful words, my hands will learn to respond with a visual representation of what was said in English.

However, a few days ago  I asked myself: why bother?

“You are gradually losing your hearing – this makes absolutely no sense. Hearing aid or no hearing aid – this makes no sense. If you can’t hear it, you can’t interpret it.”

The doubts passed though – and it’s all going to be fine. I don’t have to know for sure where all of this is taking me – I’ll graduate from the program and I trust my gut that the purpose of these efforts is to pull together work experience and education from the past.

It’s okay that I’ll be in my 50’s by the time I graduate. Lucky am I.

And, the saying I hear often among interpreters is not “if you can’t hear it, you can’t interpret it.”

The saying is “If you can’t understand it, you can’t interpret it.”

And, going back to Bella and George – understanding is a very complicated thing. That little girl is full of depth and I’m going to be careful to not give up my freedom to perceive the world as safe.

Here’s another link to learn more about the accessibility program that connected Bella and George:

http://servicedogproject.org/ – check out their donation project – it involves chicken poop.

And here’s the article that I loved this morning:

http://calltolight.org/2015/11/16/people-are-demanding-non-pc-comments-on-terrorism-so-heres-the-mother-of-them-all/

So – that’s it. No more avoiding the weekend full of homework ahead. And yes, it snowed in Iowa last night. A big, whole lot.

Be well – Kate.

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Intimate Love Can Require Extraordinary Courage

This morning I came across something quite beautiful that was posted on Face Book. Rosa Lee Timm, an outstanding Deaf actress, posted a clip of a wedding. This clip was of the vows that a woman wrote for her soon to be husband and it was incredible. Unfortunately there aren’t any closed captions for this clip that has gone viral on the internet. In Rosa’s comment in the status box above the clip that she shared she explained that she doesn’t know what this woman was saying – but that it certainly looked like a powerful message based on her husband’s reaction. She commented how she admired the beautiful and massive hairstyle of the bride, and I agree! It’s dynamite! Feel free to see for yourself by giving this great looking couple a gander. Back in the day, if I had known about flower covered archways I might have put more eggs in that basket – this one is beautiful! So – the film shows an extraordinary to look at couple who generously share parts of their unique wedding online. What the bride says is about far more than young love though – it was about the reality that accepting life’s greatest experiences often requires an extraordinary amount of courage to endure the worst patches as well. One doesn’t have to be Christian, as she is, to know this to be true. It’s a universal thing – if we are going to experience even a slice of a full life we need to dare to leap, and experience fall, after fall after fall. And intimate relationships are the messiest and most wonderful experience of all: Marriage, parenting, grand kids, nieces nephews, friendship, siblings, pets – it’s all a gamble. Anyway – I enjoyed knowing that I’m not the only relational chicken-sh*t on the planet and the video warmed my heart. BBbGXzPCAAACd-4For those who can’t hear what she said, this is some of what I jotted down from the video: “…sitting with this piece I wrote called “I Waited for You” I realized that you are my sequel. You are what I asked for, and I will be content with whatever the will of God is, and He chose somebody strong enough to deal with me…. I waited for you. Did you know that I’m not her and that I partially agreed to the wait because I didn’t believe that you existed in the first place? But in the slight, rare possibility that you did, you would definitely not want me, because I’m not her. …I choke on words like ‘want’ and ‘need’…I am the one that fairy tales tell you to stay away from. I was never Cinderella…I was never the Princess. I was the fire breathing dragon…yet you chose to knock on the door of this castle: my heart….unaware that an invisible fortress had been built, due to much more experienced pain than a sting… I was in a relationship with pain…and I loved him but I hated him, because pain had been faithful for years... beauty to me was incomplete…there was no heart in the house tonight.. nights like this I would wish and pray ‘Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, please allow the clouds to gather and the sky to to turn to gray, lead us not into temptation…Oh how I wish that it would rain so that when I look into the sky I can see my reflection’. …(after I met you) I stepped out into the sun. He is the one that knows me. He knows me. He has the ability to foresee and He still loves me. So, I stepped outside…only to see you outside my door and I was terrified… Why couldn’t I believe that your hand placed gently on the back of my neck calms me. I hate the way my heart became a defiant teenager. I got tired of the fight and decided to prove to you that you too would leave…I kept asking myself ‘who are you’ while climbing the attractive Mt. Everest of your mind. I attempted to hike a little higher to take a peek at your soul…your condition of unconditional is where I fell…

your love is too much…

it’s hard to breathe when anyone gets close…stand close and let me inhale your exhale…you collect my tears like wilted, wet bible pages…you remind me that as long as I stay close to Him I’ll never thirst again..

I remember

staring into your eyes for the first time

and it was like

staring into the back of the moon,

only to find out that IT shines too.

You are patience like a tailored suit…we are not Romeo and Juliet…but we too are a beautifully written tragedy…but we will continue and stand in His word and drink Truth… I know they told you ‘good luck’ with her…may the Lord continue to orchestrate this beautiful complex chord progression… today I will let my ‘yes be yes’, and my ‘no be no’, and today my ‘I do’ be ‘I do.’… I vow that I won’t tap out, I won’t give up...I vow not to say things like ‘you complete me’ because you don’t..in Christ I have been made complete…this will be my constant reflection because death on that cross was the greatest display of affection.

I’ve learned that He loved me enough to give me you, and so I vow to you my last breath.”

When Truth is Met by Kindness

knittingYesterday I was trying to make it to after school pick up and a very interesting broadcast came on the radio. I only caught a part of it, so I’d like to archive it HERE to be able to listen to or read the full podcast later.

The broadcast was an interview about memory loss.

I wondered if the show would depress me and I considered changing channels. I’m a sucker for a good radio voice and got hooked on the good neuroscience that was being laid out in regular person words.

I dashed into the library to get what I thought was a large print version of The Sun Also Rises by E. Hemingway. To my delight, I’d also accidentally put a hand-held MP3 player on hold that is loaded with the same book. I almost hugged the librarian. I lost my library whisper manners and sort of gushed that she had made my day.

Here’s why:

The truth is this: I found out last week that there is an increased possibility that I have glaucoma. We find out more during this week to come.

In The World According to Mr. Rogers, Fred reminds us that:

“There is no

normal life

that is free of pain.

It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the

impetus for our growth.”

If by chance I do have glaucoma, and am healthy enough to live to be elderly, I could therefore end up blind in one or both eyes when I am well into my grandmothering years. At a minimum, I have  a worrisome few years ahead as they come up with a plan to convince my eyes to be a more cooperative duo.

This is quite dramatic and scary news, agreed?BBbGXzPCAAACd-4

I have multiple vision issues, so of course the hope is that I only have unique peepers that will always be a pain.

“Debbie Downer” that I often am, I’ve been trying hard to reframe my thinking and am trying to focus on the good news that the “all that” and inexpensive eyeglass frames I found last week will rock my world.

About the radio interview: still stoked on a successful half an hour of flopping back and forth in a swimming lane at the Y, back to the van I went with my library goodies. I was excited to report my gadget findings to the friend who recommended the Hemingway book.

Thankfully, that library chore gave me exactly twelve minuteslaundry of pretending that having crappy eyesight that may become UltraCrappy, is just a day in the life.

Those of you on the genetically and fervently pessimistic side of my universe should be proud that I reframed my thinking for even that quarter of an hour. Get this though:

I had five more minutes to kill and turned the radio back on, only to hear a man who just last week was diagnosed with some sort of memory affliction. He was crying uncontrollably. He was loving, and intelligent, and, devastated by this reality, even in its infant stage. He was due to find out more about his test results this week, and I am due to find out more about my test results this week. Since the show was live, I find that interesting.The angst he was crying about wasn’t over himself at all; it was guilt.

He was crying because he might miss out on his golden years, but more so because he didn’t want to confuse or harm his young grandchildren if and when he can’t see them any longer in his own mind’s eye.

What a beautiful man, and a three star grandpa to even think of these things despite, and in the midst of his own impending loss.

“Last month a thirteen-year-old boy abducted an eight-year-old girl; and when people asked him why, he said he learned about it on TV.

 

‘Something different to try’ he said. ‘Life’s cheap; what does it matter?’

 

Well, life isn’t cheap.

 

It’s the greatest mystery of any millennium…

But how do we made our goodness attractive?

By doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own.”

~ Fred Rogers

So, thankfully, kindness and truth met in that fortunate five minutes before I barreled down the city streets to gather my son. The courageous confession of guilt on the radio, even if a projected reality, made me feel less alone in my worries. Even if we work to be the most gracious and diligent patients in the world, there is no way at all to predict how able we will be to manage the impact of our illness on our relationships.

If we can’t predict the illness, how could we possibly predict the impact on our family or our ability to maintain healthy relationships?

sniksjoe25

I really, really value that this sweet man followed his heart and just put his pain and sadness out there for millions of us to hear and feel along with him. My hope is that he is rewarded by good news from his care team, and reassurance from his family that they will not abandon him when the time comes that it is him that needs company, rather than the other way around.

When I woke a few minutes ago, anxious to finish this post, this song came to mind (click here) and I’m hoping that I can have even a portion of the brave attitude that I heard from this gentleman who adores his grandchildren with such intensity.

Prayers for a good week to come for all of us,

Kate

A Poem Saying: Slow Down and Remember You are Royal

I have a poem that I want to share in this post.

It is by a professor and writer who I met last week named Erin Bertram.

In fourteen lines, this poem, to me, says pretty much I’d like this blog to be all about.

I know that poetry isn’t for everyone. It’s usually pretty obtuse. Yet, I’m glad to be reminded that I like really, really good poetry because it slows me down. Most writing spells out the authors message and doesn’t make the reader work hard to understand what the writer hopes to impress on the reader. 

The bold and italic marks are mine, not hers. They highlight what I first heard when Erin read it at a gathering. When I asked if what she was saying was – “life’s in the here in now, so grab it if you can,” and she smiled and said “yes!”

Lucky me, she gave me a whole booklet of her poems the next day. Thanks Erin! And thanks family for nudging me down the sidewalk and saying “go make some friends!”

[We Are All Of Us Adorned With Crowns]

~ Erin M. Bertram

There are five forms of lightning:heat,ball,ribbon,forked,

Sheet. We are all of us adorned with crowns. Take my hand

& consider it tender, consider it, slack-jawed & open palmed,

Most days entirely capable.When you leave for work mornings,

Leave your necessaries strewn across the dresser as leaves

Mid-November & wanting. Sundry nights disrobe wildly & call me

By my given name, the one everyone knows but few harness

Into use. Make my parents proud. This life in all it’s tattered glare

Offers up more than I can chew, a fact I’ve come slowly,

& not without fight or requisite scar, to accept. Scattershot,

Lift your head to the sutures of exhaust in the sky & recite

All the things your hands have moved gently over. The fault lines

Of our all but sullied hands. To body the many shifts of an afternoon.

To be the thing which in the distance does the vanishing.