Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Going Down.

It happened again.I'm walking along at about 2 miles an hour and the sidewalk shifts beneath my feet and I fall. This time I just skin my knee/elbow/hand, curse the sidewalk architects, and keep walking. Later I discover a bit of blood or skin hanging from my wound. Its annoying, even irritating, but not life changing. I avoid those kind's of falls I'm tired of being hurt. I'm tired of scars and I'm tired of looking like i'm too uncoordinated to walk like a human. So I brace myself for the uneven sidewalk. I step around the spot in the road where I know there is a metal grate and I cross the street before I have to maneuver through construction. I expect the downfalls in the road and I go around as many of them as possible.
As I walked to the bus stop with my kids, I tripped, once again, on the steep drive a block before the stop. I caught myself and made a mental note to avoid the sidewalk on the block, instead walking in the gutter because its easier. As I grumbled under my breath about it, my son took my hand and said, "Its okay mom, I'll hold onto you and then when you trip you won't fall."
My boys spent the day with me, holding my hand, leading me through obstacles and tugging me in the direction they wanted me to go. By the time our travels were over...6 hours later I told them I felt like a piece of taffy.
"Salt water, or the strawberry kind with the jokes on the wrapper," my son replied. "Because I like Strawberry."
I was tempted to make some remark about his snarky, teenager, sense of humor just as I heard the smile in his voice. I laughed instead. He laughed too. All was right in the world in that moment because I let go long enough to understand. My boys were protecting me. Holding me up when I was going down. Steadying me when my feet couldn't find solid ground. Guiding me toward safety and my destination. I was frustrated that I had to trip, fall, and deal with the aftermath and they were telling me jokes and laughing.
What I wanted was to stop going down. They were doing the job both physically and in spirit. Reminding me that I can laugh, hold my kids hands, and walk. Blessings not everyone enjoys. The little things all of us take for granted are often the ones that make the biggest difference. Imagine the heartache of a mother who will never hold her child's hand again. Picture the turmoil of someone who will never take another step. Cry for the individual who lives in darkness so complete that they'll never laugh...with anyone.
If you can imagine these scenarios, heartaches, and struggles then you can also find gratitude for the fact that you have a hand to hold, a tear to cry and laughter to lift you when you're going down. Life will always be filled with scattered obstacles and pitfalls. The little things will give you a lift if you look for them and smile when you have the chance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Surgical Steel

Not long ago I spent a day or so in the hospital following another surgical procedure. Putting the broken pieces of my body back together again is a lot like Humptey Dumpty, its a process. The procedure was no big deal and fairly non-invasive so I didn't worry too much about it, until I talked to my youngest son a few days later.
"You're like a bionic person, Mom." he told me, when I explained the surgery. I shook my head and told him there were no borrowed organs, removed bones, arteries and veins sewed together or tubes implanted this time. It was no big deal. He laughed at me.
"You've got Uncle Rob's kidney, someone Else's pancreas, a glass eye, a missing knee cap and scaffolding holding up  your heart. How many surgeries have you had?"
Well, that got me thinking. I had my first surgical procedure done when I was 14 years old and one of my toes quit growing and fused into the joint.As I worked my way through the years, I realized that between kidney problems, diabetes, heart disease, blindness and the side effects of their treatments, I've had surgery 13 times.
When I told my10-year-old, he gasped. "Is that normal?"
We laughed about it, and I wondered. "Normal" is never a distinction I worried about. After all, what is 'normal' except that which we all think we are and everyone else isn't.
"The truth though; its not normal,. Is it Okay?
When bones are broken beyond repair or body parts need to be replaced, doctors don't use Aluminum foil, or lead, or iron. They use surgical steel. A special mixture of alloys and chemicals that will be stronger, just as flexible, sometimes more, and can withstand the abuse from what a human body will place it under. Its not normal. Its forged, fired and fabricated especially for work nothing else can do. Its sold through special distributors., Its handled by special doctors and it enhances in a way nothing else can.
God didn't create us to be 'normal'. He didn't put us here to decorate the planet in pretty colors.,. He created us to be steel, different than any other creation stronger, faster, better spiritually, for the difficult journey back to Him. Its not supposed to be easy, that's for aluminum creations. Easy, comfortable, and spoiled, is for lead-based individuals who can't stand the pressure of being great.
If you find yourselves in the fiery forge wondering why you're not living an easier life; its because you're steel. You're special, uncommon...Great! You don't want to be 'normal', on the junk pile or crumpled like an empty aluminum can. Not when your mind, heart and soul were meant to be surgical steel.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Beat The Heat

There's an old joke told by a pioneer from the late 1800's about my little corner of the Mojave desert. It goes..."If you owned a house in St. George and a house in Hell, you'd sell your house in St. George and move to Hell. Its cooler."
The record breaking heat in this part of the country is the reason some people in the desert have a summer and a winter home. In the dead of winter, the 60 and 70 degree temperatures are heaven. In the summer however, well...you heard the one about it being cooler in Hell.
Around here we find every opportunity we can to escape the blistering temperatures. We head north for cooler weather.We hide out in our air conditioned houses.  We swim everywhere and anywhere there is water. Pools, rivers, ditches and even puddles if we can find them. Water, in the desert is an invaluable commodity and priceless at this time of year.
When we are literally being baptized by fire around here, the water is our most beloved asset. Before the mormon pioneers arrived in this corner of the desert, the growth rings in the trees were thin and showed the devastation of living in dry, hot climates. Since the late 1800's the growth rings in the trees have tripled. Because the population has brought more moisture to the desert? Because human ingenuity has channeled run-off, guided water sources and unearthed hidden wells?
Actually its because..."the desert blooms like a garden unto the Lord..."
It's a promise God gave to the native American people who inhabited these lands thousands of years ago. "See2 Nephi 8:3)
There's a ton of stories from the people of this area about promises made to the residents if we were righteous, fasted, prayed and trusted The Lord.
Promises of rain, a break in the heat and sufficient water. According to The Washington County Water Conservancy District. Washington county saves 28 % of its water resources compared to the rest of the state which saves 18%. How do we do it? How do we beat the intense heat of the Mojave and still protect our precious water?
We believe in God. We trust Him and We wait upon Him for the living water He freely offers.
If Hell is cooler than St. George than the lesson we learn is that in The Lord's hands, even the fires of Hell have no hold on His children who believe, work and obey.
Maybe our little corner of the desert isn't really hell, but in the flooding of 2005 Death Valley, the hottest part of the Mojave, had plants, flowers and greenery cover its land. Plants that hadn't been seen in 100 years. Flowers that were rumored to bloom, but never had, and rocky, barren ground sprouting moss, vines and roots otherwise never before seen. How could you not beat the heat in a garden like that?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Independence Is A Fight

One of the very first things you learn when you lose your eyesight, if you find people like The National Federation of The Blind, is the importance of independence. I tell people all the time..."I appreciate your help, but unless you're going to follow me around for the rest of my life, teach me. Don't do it for me."
Often it is easier and makes the sighted person feel better, if a blind person just takes their arm and is led around. I must admit, if I'm not learning a new place or working on my independence skills, I'll gladly meet someone new, or hang out with a friend instead of doing it myself. Not because I can't, or don't want to be independant, solely because people have always been more important to me than anything else. I am, however, an extremely independent person. If I can do it alone, I will. Try telling me I can't.
I've spent nearly two decades of my life earning the right to be independant though. I fell down, broke bones, dodged on-coming traffic, crashed my bicycle, and walked a thousand miles to earn the courage and confidence it takes to do the things regular people take for granted everyday.
We live in an affluent society with blessings and benefits people in other parts of the world can only imagine. We didn't get them from the government or from a president. We didn't even earn most of them ourselves. We stand on the shoulders of men and women who suffer seperation from their families, physical and psychological wounds, and the loss of innocence. They see the horrors so we don't have to. They take the chances so none of us do. They sacrifice so we live in peace and comfort.
Independence is a fight. It's earned through hard times, blood, sweat and tears. When our lives get harder than we want we cry, allright, but not over lost loved ones or the ravages of war. We cry for the price of gas, for the broken air conditioner or the annual percentage rate  causing our bank accounts to bleed. What are we fighting for?
For the government to 'fix' the economy so we work less? For politicians to give us more tax breaks so we can go on more vacations? For the price of fuel to be lower so we can stay in our air conditioned cars longer?
A time will come...very soon, when we must fight for our right to worship God, to raise our children in safe neighborhoods and for the right to feed our kids.
Pretending the toughest thing we'll fight for is a greener lawn or better gas mileage is foolish. Independence will come when we fight for families, peace and freedom from evil. Don't give up the fight!