Half a century. Sounds impressive.
In Waldorf tradition, the end of the 7th cycle of seven years is a very important year. I don’t really know about all that; but I do know that I emerge changed from 49.
I started this year just beginning to respond to a synergistic treatment approach with two powerful systemic rheumatoid medications. I was driving each day to the end of the block, where someone would help me into a pool to do gentle walking. A month later, I began to walk “on land”…the length of 2 houses. By December I was up to 1/3 of a mile, and the rheumatoid appeared to be settling.
Then a moment in time, one stop sign ignored by a stranger, changed all that. My world shrunk to a dark cocoon, lights dim, sounds muted. A healing space for the brain. A hand and elbow fracture, brachioplexal injury, rib and neck injuries, an area of my lung collapsed… The very airbags that had saved my life when I was plunged into unconsciousness also caused harm.
And so I started down the long road, where healing cannot be hurried. Cocooned with Jesus, my world got very quiet. The “everyday noise” moved far away, by necessity. Five months of quiet, and then a gentle reemergence fir the next three. Eight months and counting.
I don’t know how this has changed me. Perhaps this time will never have words to frame it, hammered together like so many 2x4s. But I am changed.
My body is strengthening. I can move with increasing freedom. I can feel my arm again, most days. I can walk, and swim, and ride a bike. I can be in sunlight, and listen to music. Fluorescent lights are not my friend yet; not can I drive out of town. But I can drive again! And craziest of all, my rheumatoid is in remission.
I am practicing midwifery again, welcoming babies. I am teaching clinical adjunct in the community college. I am dipping my feet back in the birth center stream as an assistant. I am engaging my passion.
In some senses, I feel like the quiet has entered my soul. I fold laundry differently, like a zen exercise. I am pulled to my porch in the mornings and evenings, to feel the wind and listen to the night sounds. I walk, reveling in the sounds and smells of the desert.
I am not wanting crowds of people. I said “no” to a 50th birthday party; strange for this extrovert! My heart longs for quiet conversations, sprinkled with laughter and tears, to celebrate this 50th birthday. Maybe in ones and twos, sprinkled throughout a month.
I am going this week to the CCDA (Christian Community Developmemt Association) conference, a pilgrimage of sorts. I have been involved with community development for 27+ years. It stirs deep parts of my soul. It knits me deeply to my community. I learn theology from the ground up. I am listening for stories, noticing the Spirit that moves over the chaos.
Will you join me as I enter the next half century?
To the adventure ahead!