I'm most recently a writer. In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot. As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades. An unwilling transplant from the South, twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US. Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect. When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do. Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!
Monday, April 15, 2013
Know It All?
The quote above is actually a translation of a line from the Tao Te Ching. You can check with Wikipedia for more details. This morning the song was on my FB and when I listened to it, this line struck me as fitting perfectly with my thoughts today.
As you know, if you've been here before, I'm neither young nor inexperienced. I sometimes feel I've lived several lives in my six decades and each of them was jam-packed with lessons I was required to learn the hard way. (No, don't go! This is not a pity-post!) The most important of those lessons has to be that for all I've seen and heard, for every type of personality I've encountered and every sort of joy and tragedy I've observed up close or from a distance, today I will be given the chance to learn more.
I've been heard to say many times "This is another of those things I now know more about than I ever thought I'd need to." I'm the kind of person who likes to filter information. Just tell me the practical bits that I can use to make a difference in this situation, and leave out the "interesting" details. I don't like to be weighed down by the stuff that "could happen" unless it actually does. That said, I'm aware that forewarned is forearmed. Don't keep anything from me. I'll decide how to sort it--easiest to handle, longer to absorb and I'll look at it later if I really have to.
I won't go into detail here now, mostly because I haven't quite decided how much of this story to share on this blog, but I will tell you that nine years ago, my then thirty-year-old daughter, Kit, underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. The surgery went well, but subsequent swelling caused significant damage. What followed was a crash course in speech loss, short-term memory deficiency and uncontrolled seizures. Nine years later, we're still learning. While Kit now speaks normally, she often searches for words, which we've learned to automatically supply in a kind of continuous game of Password. Her short-term memory issues and seizures are ongoing challenges and most likely always will be. With all that, she and her family enjoy a busy, productive life and as her mother, I am awed by how we've all adjusted to the situation over the years.
I've learned so much through this experience. And I'm still learning. External lessons involving procedures, drugs and devices used in the attempt to control seizures. The intricacies of the brain's communication and storage systems, and their refusal to be manipulated beyond a certain point. The vagaries of memory. Internal lessons about my own patience, acceptance and limitations. Joyous lessons about support, community and the overwhelming rewards of faith. And without a doubt the most profound lesson of all, the infinite resiliency of the human spirit.
If I have a message here, it is that for all we learn, there will always be more. Even when the lessons are tough and we go unwillingly to them, we can and must keep learning. We were designed to adapt, to grow and to become the best we can be. That's both the journey and the reward.