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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!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fearsome Hope--An update from the homefront

hope: to cherish a desire with anticipation

How many times we say "I just hope. . .". That's all. We hope. It isn't within our power to achieve the desired goal on our own. We just hope it will come to be.

"I just hope they can tell me why."

"I just hope I can start to bear weight again."

"I just hope I'll be able to walk, even just a wobbly walk."

We go back to the doctors next week. The answers to the questions may be closer. Or may not be. We both know that, but for John, anticipating seems to make the endless waiting easier. I'm inclined to focus on what I need to do to get through each day, and there's plenty of that. For my husband, confined to the house, the chair, unable to move without me at his side, there's a lot of time for "cherishing" those desires.

Early next week we'll see the spinal specialist to "discuss" test results. An answer to "why" the normal mechanics of walking failed seems most important to John, but the "here's what we can do about it" is what I'm most anxious about. Not that I wouldn't welcome an easy fix, but those are not common when it comes to spinal issues. I know. I've been dealing with those issues since my 20's and none of the answers were easy or completely fixed the problem. We both agree that surgery is not an option now. There's the little matter of the second surgery on his leg still to be faced. But the prospect of an answer to what led to this situation--"I just hope they can tell me why"--seems to be the cherished desire for John.

Later in the week we go back to Kansas City to see the surgeon. And the X-rays. Will there be evidence of healing? Enough to allow weight-bearing on the leg? Will we start physical therapy to learn to walk again? Or. . .the alternative doesn't bear putting into words.

Hope is most often pictured as bright and shining, a beacon lighting the way, a warm comfort. But it's a fearsome hope that drives us right now. I hear beneath John's simply expressed hopes how disappointed he'll be if none of them are met. For two months he's been unable to move even a few feet without assistance.  The thought of putting both feet on the floor, of taking a step, even leaning on a walker, has to seem like the finest freedom. I hope for the same, and yet I'm forced to be the voice of caution. I remind him that what's ultimately most important is healing. If that takes longer, we'll give it longer. I don't voice my fears, because I know they're his as well.

Hope sustains, but reason, reality, and fear hover in the wings. When the surgeon sat with me in the waiting room and described his findings after the surgery, he also told me how sorry he was this had happened to us. That sincere sentiment, coming from a clinician and a stranger, opened my eyes to exactly what we were facing. In that moment, faith stepped in for hope, reminding me that even if reality falls short of "cherished desires," we are not alone and will be provided with whatever we need to see us forward.  We hope for the best possible outcome. I prepare to deal with whatever else may come, not because I lack faith, but because I am sustained by it.


  1. Yes, and therein lies the rub. Letting go of what we so desire, to be with what is and then learn to live with that. I, like John, always wanted to know the why. That's not always in the cards, so now I'm finding comfort in learning how to be mindful and present with the 'now'. Sending love and prayers of encouragement and peace to you both.

    1. Thank you, Catherine! It's true there aren't always answers, or the answers we want. I find it's my role to stay focused on the practical, the "now," while encouraging him to remain hopeful and work for the best outcome. Between us, there seems to be a balance keeping both of us upright. When there's time, I'm sure there are plenty of lessons to be taken from this experience.