I fall in love so easily. And when you love so many people, you laugh more, you cry more, you experience life more. And I’ve decided that’s what IT is all about.
I used to be a homebody until stroke and brain injury camps taught me to live on the road. And I mean LIVE … with real guides, real people who have been at the top and the bottom and everywhere in-between. The more individuals I met, the more I wanted to meet. The more voices I heard, the more I had to hear. And the more their words stirred me, the more words I had to write.
However, I was also Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz who would have loved to click my purple shoes and go home instantly at times … when I wondered how many more stories, words, images through my camera lenses I could absorb. Just how strong was I? Was I pushing myself to that “point” just to see how far I could go before I “broke”?
At the recent Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp in Arizona, the first since November 2019, I found myself on automatic pilot in many respects … doing the regular duties of the admin person … picking up my cameras for the first time in so long and rediscovering precious moments through my lenses … and simply engaging with stroke survivors and caregivers, and volunteers. This old dog savored the old tricks.
From my corner workspace, I found a few seconds to people watch and listen … and to simply think. Where was I? Where was I going? Is there a roadmap for where I want and need to go? Who, what, when, where, why and how …
It’s the journalist in me that always asks questions and often am not satisfied with the answers I think I’m getting. I want more … and I’m not even sure what “more” means these days. I want to BE and DO more as I helplessly witness friends go through difficult times, losses and unforeseen challenges, many of them so far away from me via miles.
I didn’t plan this journey thousands of miles across and up and down this country. I stumbled into it one day in 2008 when I asked questions like a journalist. I wanted to know more … I just never imagined that I’d want to “feel” more.
Human feelings have a price … which we choose or choose not to pay. The price goes higher when you don’t navigate feelings along the journey of life. Many individuals have paid with their very lives when they locked those feelings away … or even tossed them aside, leaving a trail of hurt along a jagged path. Feelings can hurt … but they can also heal, when we allow them the opportunity.
During several moments at this camp, I wanted to hide my feelings of fear and uncertainty … while at the same time seeking courage to “be out there,” even when I didn’t think I had the emotional energy to be “myself.”
And then God sends someone to nudge you out of your corner. This time it was Frankie, a stroke survivor I met in 2009 in Chicago. A man who has endured so much physical pain since then, but continues to go on and love and live, despite so many losses, including his dear dad earlier this year.
He just wanted to tell me that he loved me.
God sends messengers when we least expect and when we need them the most … if we only open our eyes or ears … or our arms for a hug …
Frankie saved me in ways I can’t explain … mostly from myself. Whose life are you saving today?
Hey, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. I’d love to speak to your group, organization or company about working our way through the pain and challenges of everyday life. You want straight talk? You got me!