Saturday, December 2, 2017

“She taught me that life goes on, and that I had a choice. To lament what I no longer had or be grateful for what remained.” — Louise Penny

             There is a story that dates back at least forty years about a little boy sleeping alone in a room for the first time in a big bed.  A thunderstorm hit with flashes of lightning and loud booms of thunder.  The little boy began crying and ran into his mother’s room and grabbed her tightly.  His mother soothed him as best she could.  She calmed him down and began to talk to him in a soothing voice.  “Son, you know I’m right here and when you’re in your room, I’m there, too, even though you can’t see me.  You do know that, don’t you?”  The little boy choked back his sobs and said, “I know you’re there even when I can’t see you, but Mom, sometimes I just need someone with skin on.”  I share a lot with that little boy right now.  
                       It’s one thing to know that Karen will always love me, but that’s not enough during this storm I’m living through.  I know about being a father for John, and I’ll do all I can for him, but I need the caring, loving touch that I used to have.  I’m gonna do my best to get into the new year with the best health and attitude that I can manage, but I really don’t know what’s going to happen after that.  I’ve got to have my defibrillator replaced in Dar Es Salaam in less than two years, and the last time it died (January 2016) I came close to dying, too.  But the last time I had Karen with me all the way.  She was beside me in the air ambulance, with me in the hospital every day, and with me every day of my recovery until I could go home.  She was a major part of my return to life, but now . . .  
                  We’ll see after a month or two, then we’ll see again in a year or two—if God gives me that much.  At first I was afraid I wouldn’t die when she did, then I was afraid I would die too quickly and not be able to take care of John and get all the other things done that needed doing.  Okay, I’m past that part.  Now, I’ve got to figure out how to live without her touch, her smile, her laugh, and her love.  I’m not sure that I can.
         This is a poem I wrote for her about eight years ago for an anniversary.  Maybe it will give you just a sense of why I am so alone and hurting.  It’s still true, but now there’s no our or we.

Our journey’s hardly over, but so far past begun
Still hotly forward underneath an African sun
Living life so haply joined those many years ago
Travelin' in often coupled worlds of joy and awful woe
Hand in hand, we turn our hearts to others’ living needs
Limping, hurting, we offer our simple, heartfelt deeds
Of teaching, love, and hope for life beyond the touch
Of sickness, AIDS, and death's embrace—if it is such
There is no other with whom I'd rather share
I’d say we make a rather comic/comely pair
If you see yourself through these eyes of mine
And I see me through loving eyes of thine

That being said, we can sleep up to sixteen and will offer free room and board for one or two people for one week to one month.  Airfare is about $2,000 per person with a good three-day safari around $1,000 per person.  We’ll feed and drive you around while you’re here.  Do some mission work, and it’s tax deductible.  The experience of a lifetime—just ask anyone who’s been here.  Just sayin’

{First two people, free room and board up to one month, others $5 per day per person—now that’s a great deal, eh?}
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