Archive | October, 2011

Chewing by Choise

18 Oct

I enjoyed the good news of my last post so much that I wanted to let it sit a while before writing a new post.  I am currently chewing on the idea of ‘choice’.  I would like to think that I choose a good attitude in life.  But then I wonder, doesn’t everyone?  I mean, why choose to be hurt?  The very written implication of that last question makes it sound like a ridiculous notion…”choosing to be hurt”.  Of course one doesn’t “choose” to be hurt; one “gets” hurt.  The very word “gets” suggests hurt is imposed, not chosen.  We don’t run to our mother and say, “Johnny hit me and I choose to hurt!”  Of course not.  We say, “Johnny hurt me!”  So the idea that ‘hurt’ is thrust upon us is given to us early in our culture through our use of the English language.  Now that is the obvious, and the obvious is usually NOT what compels me.  Of course not, my nature forbids it (not true for I can override my nature should I choose).

Aaaaahhhh…it is the last statement, made in parenthesis, that furthers this discussion!  Now catch this with me if you can, hopefully I can make it come across in a comprehensible manner.  Consider that Johnny hit you.  In that moment, it was he who inflicted that which hurt.  However, consider that you tell the story of Johnny and his attack upon you several times.  Of course you run and tell your mother instantly (or whoever is available to console you in that moment), and sure enough, by the end of the day the incident becomes a ‘has been’.  But if you wake the next morning and retell the tale at breakfast, then again at lunch, then again at dinner, then again and again and again, does that mean that Johnny’s blow is continuous, therefore making his hurting you continuous also?

My opinion…No.

In my view individuals allow hurtful incidents to “hurt” them longer than should be allowed.  I’m really not excluded in this, though I write as though that is the case.  My being aware of it does help me to not live in constant pain, physical or emotional.  Again to state the obvious, humans hold onto emotional hurt long, long after the pain of the physical has subsided.  And in my deduction, it is the re-telling of the incident that keeps the emotional pain in its thriving state.  Then the “state of the pain”, for some people, becomes a part of their identity.  There is a trap that comes along with this practice.  The trap is, that as the pain is the identity of a person, that person begins to expect the pain.  For example (mind you I am being benign here so as none of you can read my writing and consider I am drawing from your personality), being the last person chosen for teams in grade school is hurtful.  As an adolescent the fear of the pain reminds one to either  ‘no-show’ on the team choosing day in P.E., or cop an excuse for why you should be chosen last.  Thus the original experience from grade school is being allowed to direct the actions in adolescence.  As an adult, those insecurities are in full bloom and thoughts of “no one ever calls me” or “I’m always the last resort with friends, family, co-workers, etc.” are allowed to flourish in the mature mind.

I bring this up because, bottom line, I want to.  That is the stripped down truth.  But the truth with clothes on is that I bring it up because I interact with people, whether strangers or not, who are bogged down by painful occurrences from their past.  Maybe not on a daily basis but consistent enough to be recognized.  It seems to me they are being robbed of the joy of today, and the potentiality that circumstances have changed, that they have become someone who is chosen first!

I remember exactly when and where the good Lord spoke to my heart and mind about this very thing.  Where he illuminated within me the idea of choice.  I will share it in my next post, for right now I would rather hear your opinion on “Chewing by Choise”; joyfully misspelled on purpose—take that ‘Auto Correct’!

Extreme Cole Update

5 Oct

Sounds like a TV show, right?  Well most of you already know that we don’t have television in our home (the conventional channels, we only have dvd players and internet of course).  Even so somehow I am abreast of titles of TV shows; i.e. ‘Extreme Home Makeover’.  And when I read today’s posting title, that television show comes to mind (though I know nothing more of it than its name implies).  Why no television?  For the most part we have made that choice because life in itself is already an adventure filled with tragedy, comedy, and plenty of drama!  Allow me to serve up a healthy portion…

Cole is doing remarkably well!  In addition to having one-on-one physical therapy, three times per week, he has begun to work out in the wet and dry, adaptive kinesiology program at our local college, Saddleback.  He begins on Tuesday by getting in the pool at noon.  He works out for about an hour and then moves to the adaptive gym where they have all kinds of equipment for every possible physical disability.  He works out in the Saddleback gym on Friday afternoon’s as well.  Yesterday, he was swimming in the rain.  As he put it, “Yes, I was swimming.  Underwater, with goggles that actually work!”  He then gave me a look of accusation for not providing him adequate equipment here at home…he is quite expressive for a guy who has lost use of his facial muscles!!

During Cole’s first meeting at the gym he was introduced to a man named, Fermin.  Fermin had a stroke 8 years ago leaving him fully paralyzed on his right side, yet he now races in triathlons!  So Fermin took to Cole right away, seeing in him a drive (in all honesty, I would like to use the word ‘acceleration’ instead of drive.  It feels more accurate in describing Cole, but the English language confines me, currently, to the word ‘drive’–but keep in mind I am meaning it to reflect ‘forward motion’).  So Fermin showed Cole his recumbent bike, used for racing (and getting around); and offered to allow Cole a try at it around the running track there at the college.  Cole accepted the offer and we set a date for last Friday.  Brian came and our neighbor and good friend, Harry, met us.  Brian helped Cole into the bike and off he went…down the track, full speed ahead!  He hadn’t even gotten his helmet on (as Brian and I were quick to notice, while biting our nails).  Man-o-man, he raced that bike on that track like he had no disability whatsoever!  His Saddleback instructor, Pam, was also present and then invited Cole to tag along with her to a disability expo happening the next day.  Cole accepted the invitation and spent all day Saturday experiencing a new world of, “I can”.  He kayaked, climbed rocks, did pull-ups, met new people, and tried out different types of apparatuses.  He met a VA counselor there who asked Cole how long it had been since his surgery.  When Cole replied with, “six months”, the counselor said, “man, that’s it…if you are doing this well at 6 months, what is stopping me?!”  I said, “wow Cole, you counseled the counselor!”  He said, “oh yeah…”  When he returned home in the early evening he was wiped out.  But it wasn’t as he puts it, “neurological fatigue”.  In other words, he felt great and tired too!

Now backing up some, on that Friday at the college track Harry met us with a purpose.  You see, a few years ago Harry lost his legs to diabetes.  And when he received his prosthesis legs, he and his wife walked around the track.  At that time Fermin bestowed upon Harry a triathlon medal he had won.  The sentiment was that it would be a traveling medal, bestowed to a person the bearer of the medal feels exhibits characteristics of a hero.  So Fermin gave it to Harry and that day at the track Harry gave it to Cole.  It was very touching for us watching, and all of it has touched Cole deeply.

For the first time, post surgery, Cole is future focused.  Not that he didn’t see the future before, I mean he spoke of traveling (still does), but he “feels” the future.  For the first time he isn’t concerned about having disabilities.  He is going to overcome them…  Riding around the track gave him hope for driving a car again.  Meeting Fermin and people at the expo who are not letting their physical (or mental) challenges thwart their progress spoke volumes to him.    Being entrusted with a ‘hero’s medal’ from a man he admires, encourages his soul.  He is so on his way!

And then, yes there is more…the Orange County Register actually contacted me to do a story (based off of the letter in my previous post).  The reporter came yesterday and the story just might be in print by this coming weekend or next week (scary–you never know how one will interpret something).  Then on Sunday Cole had another set of MRI’s.  We picked up the report yesterday and all looks good; no changes.  YAY!!  Now with all of this news, you can understand better my title.



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