Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Grace


One of my favorite things to do on Sundays is to leisurely go through the newspaper. I’ve always loved the color comic pages, seeing how far I can get on the crossword puzzle, dreaming of far-off places in wandering through the travel section, and as I’ve become less of a curmudgeon and more of a thinker, I’m enjoying the idea exchange on the op-ed page. I do a little window shopping through the circulars and finish up with Parade, a feature ‘zine that reminds me of a cross between Readers’ Digest and Ladies Home Journal tucked away in the folds of the big package of newsprint.  It has a little celebrity gossip, a few human interest pieces, recipes, and some cheesy ads, but I’ve been looking at it since I was a kid, so it’s a habit. Their cover stories are usually worth taking the time for a quick spin.

This Sunday’s cover hit home as it was a story of Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts who recently returned to work after being treated for a condition very similar to mine. Roberts underwent a bone marrow transplant for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a condition that is often a precursor to leukemia and it is what I was initially tested for when I had my first bone marrow biopsy. In reading the article, I was once again pulled back to her good humor in the midst of some rather rough days and felt a kinship with her on a number of levels even though I have yet to get as far as she has. My hope is to be able to carry on with the kind and capacity of grace that she exudes publicly.

One of the key things I walked away from the article with was something I’m enjoying as well.  She had a great support network, both professionally as well as from her family.  I have to say that from the time I found out that there was a possibility that I could be sick, I have been treated like family by those where I work, from the top down. It’s especially noteworthy that I’ve been with the company for just a few months, but you can be sure they have the kind of loyalty from me that would be hard fought anywhere else.  Hunt Electric, Inc. is not just a solid, growing company, they still “get it” in a day and age where other companies will fall by the wayside because of employee dissatisfaction. The more I find out about this new professional home of mine, the more impressed I become…and clearly from what I hear from others in the company, I’m not alone. Having that kind of support in addition to family and friends buoying me up has taken such a load off and allowed me to rest when I needed it and keep me mentally engaged when I have been able and not worry about the details when I’m awake at 4:00 am, which is rather frequently these days!

Many people might call this favor and kindness a grace of sorts. I like that term because it confers something that we don’t see often these days. I hope I don’t sound old by saying that, but it feels like expediency and facts all too often trump good will and compassion. We all crave the kind of human interaction that feeds these qualities that make us smile, but all too often we settle for less. We get jaded from the stories we hear about others getting screwed by insurance companies, politicians exercising their best spineless double-speak, and the sensational tabloid media. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a community and we’ve lost the feeling of what it is to be a neighbor and a friend.

But that’s not always true, is it?

My experience here has been that people will rise to the occasion if you give them an opportunity. I may still be put off by the guy at the freeway off-ramp, but I’ll still feed someone who is hungry; I may be overrun by advertising for truly worthy causes that, replete with the perfect music, images, and celebrity endorsement, all tug convincingly on my heartstrings, but I’ll still donate or get involved myself; and when my co-worker, my neighbor, or my family member is struggling, I’ll continue to do whatever I can to make sure they feel my support. I hope you won’t be manipulated by someone’s guilt-inducing message, but will follow your heart to do what it is that brings you joy in giving to others. I can tell you first-hand that when someone gives freely to you, even if it’s just their presence, it brightens the room and smiles abound. It’s once again the thing that has helped me to move out of a hospital room well ahead of schedule as I’m writing this from home instead of that nifty motorized bed.  They even removed my PICC line before leaving today which tells me that someone’s rather optimistic about me getting a donor rather soon. And I am so ready to be done with this as you all well know.

There are some quiet noises behind me that tell me I’m home – the bubbling of some potatoes on the stove, the humming of my toaster oven making a pot pie and the distinct lack of noise from beeping IV poles or nurse calls. Those little things make me smile and I can thank you for your continued prayers, positive thoughts, and support that has given me the grace to continue with a smile.
Today's music - Boys II Men - "Thank You"
'Cause even though when times got rough
You never turned away
You were right there
And I thank you (thank you)
When I felt I had enough
You never turned away
You were right there
And I thank you (thank you)
Be well, stay strong, and much love to you all!