Perspective 137 – Kentucky and my fence

Perspective 137 – Kentucky and my fence

Gathered experience

For good or bad, experiences gather in our brains, writing perspective with indelible ink, each entry turning us right or left. Sometimes the writing is true – G loves me – and sometimes it’s false and belittling as in G hates me. Most of us, most of the time, never think about it until we’re forced to. 

So close I could touch it

It was unseasonably warm and sunny outside when we were startled by a blaring television telling us that hard winds and heavy rains loomed. Big deal: we live in the Carolinas. We clamored into bed that night, nodding reassurances and listening to howls and watching rain paint our windows with crystalline lights.

I was sleeping and saw a flash. This happens: sleeping can be as exciting as a birthday party since my brain injury. But I wondered – inside my sleep – why part of my brain was lighting up? Was I having a seizure? Then thunder roared above me, loud and close like I could reach up and touch it. 

Dragging myself from the warmth of my wife and dog, I got up and wandered to the back door to see if there was any damage. There was. A section of fence was down, laying flat in the neighbor’s yard. I smiled, thinking that our fence looked like a kid who just lost a tooth. Nonplussed, I made coffee and went to work editing a book until daylight. 

Ugh. Now this is INCONVENIENT

Rain poured, and I put on my coat and hat and looked at the fence through the louvered blinds. Great. Now I’ll have to push my To-Do list back a couple of hours to fix the fence. Another thought struck me: could this be a reminder? 

Forgotten and remembered

I was in Atlanta’s Shepherd Center for two months with a brain injury and a bag of broken bones. Laying there, strapped to the bed, I thought often of how I would give my remaining good leg to go home and sit on the couch in front of the fire and read for a living. But, for reasons that confused the doctors who thought I might walk in two or three years, I walked in four weeks and ran in six. Well, you might call it running. I call it an old man shuffle. 

I saw my backyard and my fence lying prone, and I thought of how extravagantly fortunate it is to have a fence and a house and a wife who loves you and to have my writing. Gathering a hammer and nails, I thought about Kentucky* and how those thousands of people would give almost anything for the good ol’ days when a storm blew over their yard, making them late for work when they had to fix the fence.

***

So, let’s remember…no, let’s forge a new perspective: there is almost always something worse that could have happened or something that leads to real despair. Usually, whatever bothers us is just an inconvenience because we want to finish a chapter of a book no one will read. My family adopted a motto when we came home from the Shepherd Center, and it serves us well: We are alive, we are together, we love each other, and G loves us all.

Selah

*Report of the Kentucky storm.Selah

To give the the Red Cross Kentucky Storm Fund go here.


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