As you may know, I am spending a few months in the dormancy of winter, working on a book. And, like last year at this time, I am offering my blog to you. Last year we looked into our Breaking Points and found community and grace in grief and vulnerability. This year we are looking into our past, and finding the weaving of community that stitches us to our present. I will be posting these pieces at These Here Hills. Their authors will be happy to receive and respond to your comments. Here is the blog post I wrote about this subject.
Contest submissions closed. Winner will receive a scholarship to one of my upcoming Haven writing retreats in Montana, announced mid-February…
Now I am further stepping into the wilderness of Montana and the wilderness of writing. If you’d like to create haven for your creativity…come to a Haven Writing Retreat here in Montana. June, August, and September retreats are now booking and filling fast. Email me for more info: Laura@lauramunsonauthor.com
Having experienced much of this entry, I write in tears and thank Laurie Wajda for spreading her father’s light to those who read it here. Thank you, and blessings to your family. yrs. Laura
Community: Long Ago by Laurie Wajda
I love to read Laura Munson’s blog. That’s not a plug, it’s true. Reading her is like sitting with an old friend, chatting over a hot cup of cocoa. So when I read about her new contest, I was excited to hear from not only her, but others who would submit to her as well. We’re all of the same breed, I think. Reading the stories submitted is easy as a cool summer breeze.
I live in the sticks, as we call it. In the middle of nowhere. So when I heard the topic was “community” I thought—What would I do with that?—and had no intention of submitting this year.
I just sat back and waited for the others: Waited to read about people who had others around them, with them, to lean on and comfort them if they so needed, teach them things… I waited because I didn’t know what community was about, nor did I think I would find myself one any time soon.
And then I got the call.
My father has always been the strongest man I know. (And, I may add, he’s made of pure love.) I can’t remember a time he was ever sick—except that once when I was in fifth grade and he had a hernia operation, and had to sleep in the Lazy Boy for a week or so. Since then, it’s been smooth sailing. So, last week, when I was riding in the ambulance with him, and the paramedics asked about his medications and other ailments, I had nothing. They just looked at me, as do the doctors now, like I have two heads.
You see, the paramedics and doctors, they look at him as an eighty-six year old man–one who is sick and frail and can’t get up to pee on his own. They don’t see the man who was pushing his own lawnmower until it started to snow. Or the guy who opens and closes his own in ground pool every year, and vacuums it all summer long. They don’t see the man who served in WWII and then raised five children, helping them fight battles of their own all along the way. No–they don’t see that at all. But we do. His family. His friends. His community.
Turns out my father had a brain bleed, and has left us all bleeding from our very souls.
Bing. Bing. Bing… I sit and listen to the monitors and the buzzers, and the bells, and it’s hard to believe I’m sitting here at all. We’ve met with doctors who first told us it was caused by a cancer that has spread throughout his body, through his organs. Then they told us how his case is “puzzling,” that we still have hope because they might not be right at all… It might be an infection, or a blood disease, or benign…. And then he has a brain tumor… And each time they change their story and rip the rug from underneath us, we come together, closer, our little community, and we pray.
As I sit by his bedside, the emails and instant messages pour in on the technology we can all not live without. Support. Prayers. Positive thoughts. Daily, the texts roll in from old friends who heard, new friends who care, family I haven’t seen in years. My nephew admits—he never knew he had such a support system behind him until he really needed it. I concur. And now we know.
Right now, this is our community. We are our community. Family. Friends. Neighbors. People from Church. People from Facebook, and Twitter, ones whom I have never laid eyes on are praying. We don’t all live in the same place–some from across the country or the globe. But we all have the same goal, same thoughts, same prayers. What brings us all together is love.
We pray for recovery, we pray they are wrong, we pray they will give us a definitive answer so we can fix it. We laugh because he keeps telling us he’s fine, we cry because we know he’s not, and then we pray, each of us in our own way, some more. Our new little community, born of love.
Frequently in the last week I’ve asked myself–How do you go from sitting and laughing at dinner ten days ago to this? How does this happen? Tumultuous emotions. Rollercoaster rides. Sleep deprivation. Looking up on the way here the other day, I gave God the finger – how dare He?
And then later in a moment of my own solitude I apologized and asked for forgiveness, and serenity, and love.
My family, we’ve learned in the last ten days, not all things are fixable. But as the days pass, we’ve learned to lean on each other a little bit more, to rely on each other’s strength that eminently came from our father, our grandpa, our friend. We know that whatever hits us next, whatever bricks are thrown, we can face it together.
Our family has come together in a way I’ve never seen. We are one. We have a bond that I’m sure was there but had never solidified. My father is our core, our backbone.
Taking turns, I wait in the waiting room, waiting to see my daddy, listening to the buzzers and bells drifting in from other rooms: Rooms filled with others like my dad. And I wonder if they are lucky as us? Do they have the same support, strength, love, family, friends, neighbors? Do they have communities behind them, wishing them well? I hope so. It would only seem fair.
And, being my father’s daughter, I can only pray they do.