“Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, God smiles from above and says, “Relax sweetheart, it’s just a bend in the road, not the end!” (Author unknown)
Well, this is a first. All writers have specific ways and routines of getting the job done. For me, in the many years of writing this column, I have never switched gears at the last moment. My routine is to write on Monday morning when my brain is fresh, and then let the column gestate over night. Tuesday morning I polish it up and zap it off to my editor at the News-Times for the Friday edition.
I did all that this week, and just as I was about to hit “send” on the computer, an email popped up from a reader in another state who receives this column from someone in Newport. This reader, like so many others both local and far away, has been following my healing process and sending words of encouragement. Some simply write, “I’m praying for you.” Some, like the person whose email literally stopped me from hitting the “send” button, included the above quote, and it was a clear message that today’s column had to be about gratitude. With Thanksgiving around the corner, how inappropriate to have sent the sappy subject I had already written. You will get it eventually, but not today.
That quote is one of many from readers. I save these quotes in a special file on my iPad, and during those long nights in rehab, I needed to read and re-read these words because they kept me from getting depressed and discouraged.
Here’s one: “Do you know why a car’s windshield is so large and the rearview mirror is so small? Because our past is not as important as our future. So, look ahead and move on.” (Unknown).
Another reader sent this one: “Prayer is not a spare wheel that you pull out when in trouble. It is a steering wheel that directs us in the right path throughout life.” (Unknown).
Today is my chance to thank all of you, friends, family and readers, who have let me know in so many different ways that you care about me. You have sent cards, flowers and tons of emails. My “village people” have driven me (back and forth) to doctor and lab appointments, hospital for surgery, visited me during the weeks in rehab, and now that I’m home, there are those bringing meals on wheels. (Since I hate to cook, I plan to play pathetic with hope the friends who enjoy cooking will keep it up).
The list of names is way long, but you know who you are. I’m thrilled to tell you I have graduated from wheelchair to walker, and, as of yesterday, am now using a cane. My physical therapist, Karen Smith, reluctantly allowed me to conquer the steps upstairs in my home, but only if my driver friend, Lin, would act as a “spotter” on my maiden trip up and down. Last week I told you I haven’t been upstairs in two months. Karen insisted an extra walker be parked there in case I needed it. I didn’t. After Lin left, I went back upstairs on my own and just stood and looked around, feeling very liberated. Isn’t it strange how we don’t miss something until we no longer have it?
I hope this gets to my editor in time for Friday’s paper, and I hope you understand my reasons for turning serious and needing to write with a huge attitude of gratitude.
As for Thanksgiving, I will be with my friend, Louise, and her family. She invited me weeks ago when I was dependent on a wheelchair. Knowing there are many steps to her home, I tried to beg off rather than be a problem, but she wouldn’t let me off the hook. Perhaps she knew the wheelchair would be history by turkey time.
I’m about to hit the “send” button, but I have to leave you with one final quote from my school chum, Teresa, who contributes so many funny day brighteners to this column. I have known this friend of faith since we were teenagers, and her strong spiritual side has kept her in closer touch with me during this long healing journey. Teresa let me know she was praying for me, and I will leave you with this quote she sent during rehab. I was having a tough time, and it really touched me:
“When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them; and sometimes, when you feel safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.”
Here’s wishing all of you a blessed Thanksgiving from my grateful heart to yours.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor” (Dancing Moon Press). The book (with all proceeds going to Rotary International) is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]