Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gratitude

My best friend is having a major health scare.  What started out as possible fluid in her inner ear, for which she was treated with antihistamines, is now considered something much more serious.  It has already involved many uncomfortable tests and procedures.  No doubt there will be many more. There will be surgery, a hospital stay, a lengthy recovery time.  There will be post –op visits, more tests to see if things are OK and regular uncomfortable tests from here on out.
 Throughout this whole ordeal so far she has been calm, resolute, brave – the epitome of grace. Always the teacher, her response to a tense diagnosis has been hopeful and optimistic.  She is, just by being her beautiful serene self, teaching all of her family, friends and students how best to meet adversity.  Head on.  With a strong heart.  And, perhaps surprisingly – with gratitude.  She has already told me several times how this had made her grateful for her life, for her family and friends.  And for me. 
So many people who have known her and found out about this episode have called, sent wonderful cards, letters and emails.  When I read them, I tear up. Because it’s all true.  She has changed lives. Personally and professionally.  This world is a better place for the way she has touched so many.
And so she has been grateful for this problem – because folks who might have carried on and known her loving touch, her wise council, her easy laugh and sparkling eyes – might not have shared their beautiful appreciations. 
I called to have some questions answered about insurance.  The woman on the other end of the phone answered all of my questions clearly and carefully.  She wanted to be sure that if there was any way at all that she could help to please call back and ask for her.  I said I would.  And I thanked her for her concern.  Before we rung off she said there was one more thing.  “Would it be OK for me to put Miss Heidi on my prayer list?”  I was humbled by her spontaneous outpouring of faith and love for a stranger.  I only had a minute before my students came back from PE.  But I had to wipe my eyes and take a few deep breaths before I could greet them at the door.
When I get into that quiet space to pray, often as I lie in bed well before dawn, before the alarm goes off, when I can hear her soft, steady breathing, and we are touching beneath the covers – my prayers are those of gratitude.  Of course I am grateful for my sons and my siblings and our beautiful home in the woods.  I am grateful for my vocation, which I love, and for my friends.  But what I am most grateful for is the presence of this good woman in my life and the love we have shared for all these many years (36 by my reckoning).  And I am grateful for the many years to come.

5 comments:

Nic said...

Illness brings out the best and worst in us, I think. Life certainly becomes a very different colour. This can be a good thing. Those every day concerns pale. I worry I don't deal with it well. And it is my best friend who tells me otherwise. He might be being kind, I suppose. But he should know: if I moan to anybody, I moan to him. Sometimes I need reminding of that; sometimes on the bad days, to hear 'you cope so well' is enough to make me cope. Sometimes best friends need to fill in those gaps which appear where all the fear seems to lurk.

Your best friend sounds like an amazing lady. I am thinking of her and wishing her well.

Chris Hass said...

Thinking of the woman on the phone who asked to pray for Heidi, it's amazing how meaningful our words can be - even to complete strangers. Someone once said something similar to my mom when my dad wasn't doing too well and it has stuck with me all these years since.

I hope the next month or two go smoothly. And quickly.

Emily Whitecotton said...

I had heard rumblings of this through the USC grapevine, but heard officially and in greater detail tonight in class.

I can't imagine the courage this takes to live through this and share it. I am thinking of you. Both.

Melanie Bardin said...

Tim, I just read this post and wanted to let you know that I just added Heidi to my prayer list too. Praying for God to bring peace and healing to her body. Love you guys and so thankful for the encouragement you both were to me during my time at CFI!

Melanie

Cary Allen said...

Tim, I just got back in the loop, too. I know you will be a rock for Heidi and get her through this. We will be praying and waiting for good news. Stay positive and love will see you through.

Cary