The Bandit Buddha was once threatened with death by a bandit called Angulimal. “Then be good enough to fulfill my dying wish,” said Buddha. “Cut off the branch of that tree.” One slash of the sword, and it was done! “What now?” asked the bandit. “Put it back again,” said Buddha. The bandit laughed. “You must be crazy to think that anyone can do that.” “On the contrary, it is you who are crazy to think that you are mighty because you can wound and destroy. That is the task of children. The mighty know how to create and heal.”
2014 has been a hella tough year so far. i feel as if i have been through an entire 12 months and it’s only march. i have recently awakened from a dream like state to realize that i am a glass half empty right now. this is not to say that i am defeated or it is over or any other tragedy-oriented scenario. it simply means that perhaps i have plateaued for a minute- or two.
i came to know a woman within the last year who, at 74, has been struggling with pain and addiction issues, along with health issues and mobility issues. our meeting and my subsequent dance with knowing her has been as faceted and as inspiring as any encounter i have known. i have been made aware of just how resilient the human spirit can be and how forgiving and hopeful that i can be.
as time has moved foreward she has talked of some neglect she has endured from her family. she transports herself with her walker around the metro area on a bus. she has had at least 6 hospitilizations over the last 6 months and she is discharged from each of those episodes to take a bus by herself back to her daughter’s home where she resided.
about 3 months ago she appeared to begin to decline more rapidly. when i would see her she looked dissheveled, sometimes dingy, almost always unkempt. when asked about her daughter and the support she was given, the stories given flitted to and fro like a hummingbird at a feeder.
i was numbed by the unveiling of the fragility and the resistance that my new acquaintance was engaged in. she captured me by surprise one afternoon with auto-flow tears saying “you don’t know how hard it is sometimes” and ” i have barely eaten in about 3 days” which pierced my core with the cold steel of helplessness that i felt as i surrendered to the truth that i couldn’t solve this for her.
it became obligatory to discuss the situation with adult protective services. in the process of this action, i was informed that aps was familiar with the parties involved and re-activated the case. this brought some comfort as well as some anxiety to me as i have never had to ask for government intervention and it numbed me.
i began to inquire more regularly about the specifics of her situation and the intimacies of her support. her fear of change and her denial of need consistently boggled my mind. i have come to understand the need to feel integrated with control in our own lives on a new level. she is delightful, and creative, and crafty.
but her health has continued to unravel as her journey continues. i learned to day that i most likely will not be seeing her with the same regularity as has been. i have to let go. this is such a good thing because she will transtion to an assisted living situation that will not require her to take 3 buses round trip daily with her walker in tow as the pain in her lower legs and back gnaw at her body like termites on framing. her daily challenges no doubt will shift as will her focus.
i cried today, not with a sense of loss, but more with a microburst of relief. i don’t have to hold a sense of worry so close to my chest any longer. i feel blessed by this experience and i feel spent too. i don’t get to choose my blessings and i don’t get to start and stop them at will. she has been a blessing in my life. i am humbled by this experience. i trust it will keep me right-sized in some of the years to come.
I’m wishin’ on a star To follow where you are I’m wishing on a star, whoa-oh And I wish on all the rainbows that I see
I’m wishin’ on a star To follow where you are I’m wishin’ on a star