I began my blogs as an introverted introspect trying to create order in unexpected circumstances while hoping to encourage others. This particular site was triggered by a retirement providing lots of time but no direction, allowing me to retreat to my love of writing. As I often cued my choir to attend to the director, “This is all about me.”
Today, though, I pay tribute to those people who are living with a “nontraditional” retirement, whatever that is. I salute Lyle and Laura and Dee and many others who are raising their biological grandchildren (big applause). To Mary who pushed Roger to face critical health issues (really, Rog?) but continues to provide daycare to their grandchildren and, much to Roger’s chagrin, transform junk in Roger’s eyes to treasures, nonstop, while continuing a writing career. Among our friends, many dreams have been pushed to the back to accommodate life changes.
I hope that my writing reflects the gratitude I have for my life. Like the movie Sliding Doors, our life passage is governed by many arbitrary choices and, perhaps, happenstance, impacted most importantly by health status. When Judy attended my mother’s memorial service several years ago, she appeared comfortable wearing her heart on her sleeve. Literally. She was carrying a portable “heart” which was keeping her alive as she awaited a transplant. Dealing with the death of my 96-year old mother was, as expected difficult, but facing the mortality of my friends and myself was disconcerting.
Living several hundred miles apart, Judy and I rarely see each other. Neither of us is inclined to pick up the phone. But it is the sort of friendship that picks up where it left off. So I followed Judy via email and Facebook and praised God (literally) when she was called to Chicago to get her heart.
Everyone should witness the joy of a transplant recipient. Resurrection delivers them from the hell of helpless victim to the heaven of immortal mortal. Life is bright, and they are ready to share their joy. It was fun to see the pictures of the donor’s family listening to their daughter’s heart beating in Judy’s chest. She is willing to share the peace of her life with them, offering compassion for their tragedy.
We should all feel Judy’s joy and gratitude. We are still here. We still have opportunities. And we still have dreams. If the door slides when our head is turned, another train will come. As my sister says, “Just keep moving.”