Life lessons are everywhere!  Especially these days while I am paying attention.

We were headed to Bend, Oregon yesterday for a long awaited visit with our son Quinn, his wife Sarah and our dear five-year-old granddaughter Kila.  Sarah and Kila’s being sick forced a change in plans, as I cannot be exposed to illness.  We were all so disappointed, but then the big snow came and would have caused us to stay home regardless.  I have come to believe that I must pay attention to these signs.

I have spoken at length about our “inner voice.”  This is the warning that each of us has, that I have come to heed, albeit late in life.  Whenever I fail to listen, I am reminded that when I ignore that voice, something happens that I regret.

Sting’s song, Every Step You Take, Every Move You Make, I’ll Be Watching You refers to our higher self, knowing whenever we fail ourselves.  When we speak of someone in a negative way, behave in a manner that we know is inappropriate, we have the opportunity to make a better choice if we only listen to that inner voice.

These days, my inner voice tells me that all is well.  I have come to feel like a small child, with my hand in God’s, as He leads me through my day.  I am thankful for this feeling which keeps me from being afraid most of the time.

Months ago, I bought the DVD entitled, So Much, So Fast.  It chronicles the life of Steven Heywood, who at 29, was diagnosed with ALS. Steven had lived a life without emotional or physical pain.  He had wonderful, loving parents, two brothers who loved him and plenty of money to provide a wonderful life for the whole family.  These were good people, truly blessed in their lives until his illness.  I was able to identify with so much of Steven’s process and his comments. 

He hated the whiny voice and unintelligible speech, as he was always funny, articulate and in the center of conversations.  Yet he maintained his positive attitude even as he lost the use of his hands, and his legs became paralyzed, as well.  Steven had the more typical type of ALS than mine.

Although my hands are losing strength, I am sill able to wash and dress myself, put on make-up, handle all my feedings through the tube, and feed myself applesauce and yogurt. I can hold a glass or cup, pet my animals, make the bed and Windex the stove and living room glass top tables.

However, I cannot tweeze my eyebrows or pluck an errant hair from my upper lip or chin.  Now THIS is very frustrating, but further proof that my priorities still have a ways to go.  Typing is only slightly more difficult, but holding my head up is a challenge.  Breathing is work at times during the day, and I am eternally grateful for the bi-pap with oxygen, which helps so much.

I am so grateful to Chris, with his loving kindness and understanding.  I am careful to attend to his needs as best I can, and suggest he slip out to a restaurant, skiing or hitting golf balls for a change of pace.  It is essential that he takes good care of himself, both physically and emotionally.  This man gives to me so generously, with his words, a touch, an offer to help and his abiding love.

When Chris helps by zipping up my hoodie, this formerly powerful woman is truly humbled.  It is another lesson.  None of us is so strong that we cannot let go at times and be vulnerable.  I would never have been able to do this without my illness as my teacher.

Having so little control these days, I have the opportunity to really let go.  And, I am surprised at my ability to do it.  I suppose I could fight it, but I trust in this process.  I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and that God is with me.  And so, in the midst of the most harrowing struggle of my life, I am at peace.  Thank God.