I don’t write anymore. Okay, no. I don’t write anything worth reading anymore.
But, I’m full right now and I’m going to write a bit of it.
I’ve had four moments that redefined the way I saw my life in the last couple of months.
1. I blistered my foot while I shoveled my driveway two months ago. Yes. I knew the potential problems when I picked up the shovel, but I had no options. I had to move the car. So I’ve bled into a bandage for 8 weeks. My hip has kicked a cast for a month. And once again my podiatrist and I’ve discussed the impending loss of a portion of my foot. I sat with a group of my friends at a benefit for a Roman Catholic retreat center and listened to teenagers discuss the merits of the organization (TEC.) I had my cast strapped to my leg and I felt filled with self-pity. I looked around the table and I saw good people living good lives and I silently thanked God that He had surrounded me with them. A group of Latino boys rose from their chairs and lifted a young man strapped in a wheelchair on to the platform. The young man began his tale. He revealed that this was his first speech in English. He was paralyzed at the age of 14 during a gang fight. He spoke of his rediscovered faith. I sat there and stared at him. My shame chased passed my sorrow toward my neck as my tears raced to my chest. I remembered him from my volunteer days at Regions Hospital. He’ll never walk again; I’ll walk away from my lamentations that I have less.
And to amend my life, amen.
2. I sat with a group of my friends and listened as a foul-filled woman disparaged my Faith and my friends. I spoke up as she spoke out of turn. I looked at her. I felt saddened. Sometimes I sit and lose hope in humanity. Sometimes I sit and I’m heart-beaten by people who munch on the marrow of mankind. I looked her in her eyes and decided I did not want people like her in my life. I decided that I will not tolerate the intolerable. I began to offer further rebuttal. But, I remained silent. I saw that I couldn't bring sight to the blind. No one can. It takes a supernatural act. It’s so rare that we still discuss it 2000 years later. And, I am not Annie Sullivan. I can’t bring enlightenment to the sightless. My hands are too busy with bandages to pump compassion into an arid heart. At that moment I dug through the sorrow in my soul and I silently vowed to avoid the near occasion of her sin. I've decided that I will turn my other cheek. And she may bend and kiss it as she watches my retreat.
3. God is amazingly good to me. My friend is a podiatrist and an exercise physiologist. Yeah. Imagine. Does God put the perfect people in my path? Mike is not my doctor; he is my friend. I need to build up my arms and upper body so that I can negotiate crutches and wheelchairs as my fate becomes my future. Mike trains me. The other day as we lifted weights, I stopped and I looked up at him and I said, “I’m never going to win this. Am I?” And he replied, “Diabetes? No. But you have to redefine your battles. You win a battle everyday. Today you kept your foot. Right?” And I looked up at him and I knew he was right. Everything is today. Today, I’ve won this battle. Mike is not only teaching me weight training; he is teaching me wait training.
4. I uploaded my novel on a HarperCollins website. The site is based on “backings” which are like votes. The more backings - the higher likelihood that HarperCollins will read my novel and decide whether to publish or pass. I’ve worked the site by reading and backing other novels to encourage them to read and back mine. In the past two days I’ve had nearly 34 backings and I’ve lost 3 places in the ranking. This morning I felt heartbroken. I spoke to my Mother about the loss. My Mother is wise. Everything I know I learned at her side. My Mother looked at me and said, “how many people have backed your book?”
“A little over 900”
And she replied, “How many people have to read you before you’re satisfied Mark? How many will be enough for you?”
I felt ashamed. I’m 47 years old and I still make everything about me.
I told you my Mother is wise.