Wednesday, November 27, 2013

a minute of gratitude

                Yup, Chris is  standing! Standing and starting to walk. The docs gave him the all-clear to drive and said things are coming along with his healing, so he is starting to put weight on the leg. He says it's like pins-and-needles, but it's good to be doing it. We also learned that his bone density is not good, which explains why it's so easy for him to break bones. (The man lived in the PNW for 20 years and never took his Vitamin D. Let this be a cautionary tale.) But, the good part of that is that it's reversible with diet and vitamins and exercise. It may take years but he can turn it around.

I am in awe of his determination to get better, and how quickly he's been able to do it. We're not all the way there, not yet, but when I think about how far he and our whole family have come, it really is so much better than it was.

In Quaker speak, a minute is a statement of strong belief that a Meeting or an individual would like to publicly share. Ever since the accident, I've been writing a minute of gratitude in my head. It's been hard and painful and scary, but we've also been so lucky and supported and nourished.

When Chris called me while waiting for the ambulance, I frantically texted some friends and asked for Light. From those first panicked horrible minutes when I knew he was hurt but I didn't know the extent of it, I knew we were being held, and it kept me going through the fear and anxiety.
That was the beginning of our communities coming forward to support our family, and when things were
really stressful, I would just recite my list of thank yous in my head.

For the friend who came over and just helped me think through what decisions I needed to make in those panicked early moments.
For the people who watched my kids, sometimes for most of a day on short notice.
For the people who brought us food, almost every night for five weeks.
For the friend who came over and jumped my car, when my distracted self had left the inside light on.
For the friends who conspired to send us each a gorgeous flower arrangement and give our days some beauty.
For the friend who came over and moved my couch so we could make space for Chris's hospital bed.
For my amazing mom who said "when can I come?" and co-parented with me for weeks. She's the only reason my kids had Halloween costumes, and the only reason I didn't go insane.
For the family who sent us love and support from afar.

I don't know what we would have done without all of you. I really don't.

I also really loved the honesty that people gave me. "Cooking is just not how I'm going to help you guys."
"I really can't do childcare but I could do this." I loved the gift of people being realistic about what they are capable of and offering only what they could. Because that gift of being authentic and honest is so valuable and precious.

I've been on the other side of this equation, I've been the one bringing meals and organizing the gifts. That part is fun. It's fun to give and feel generous and useful and connected.
Being on the other side is hard. It's hard to be the one who needs help. It's hard to feel vulnerable, to know that you can't do it on your own.
We all have our chances to be the giver and the receiver, all our lives. I hope that next time I am the giver, I can be as honest and realistic as the ones who have helped us. I hope that next time I am the receiver (please let that be many many years from now)  I can remember that we all have our seasons of needing help.

Meister Eckhart said "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."

I can't decide if they are the smallest words or the biggest words I know. Both, I think.

Thank you.


Grandma Bette said...

We who love you all so much are very thankful today that Chris is progressing so well. These past weeks have had some pretty dark days. Today the sun is bright in the sky! May you have a blessed Thanksgiving and know that God is watching over all of you.
Love to all of you
Grandma Bette

xine said...

Perfect, beautiful, amazing Truth. Thanks from me to locals who were present, practical, and priceless.

xine said...

Perfect, beautiful, amazing Truth. Thanks from me to locals who were present, practical, and priceless.

oma said...

he's standing! amazing. you four are just astounding. we've gotten a bit side-tracked by moving, but we're here for whatever you need. your expressions of gratitude for all you've received made me teary. happy thanksgiving, indeed.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

So beautiful to see Chris upright! And your words were even more beautiful. They brought tears to my eyes. All the love in the world to you guys.

mama cindy said...

The word amazing comes to mind as I have read this post over and over. Your writing - the expressions of honesty and gratitude are amazingly heartfelt and beautiful. Your various communities did truly come together to support you in so many ways and you and Chris both expressed your gratefulness daily. And Chris? . . . he has certainly been amazing. He has such determination and has worked so hard to get to this point. Standing and doing some walking - Wow! - I'm sure he has amazed even his doctors with his progress. May the love that has surrounded you all during this difficult time continue to support you in good times and bad for the rest of your lives.