Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mount Rushmore

There are amazing places in our country. One
place we should all try to visit is the Black Hills area in South Dakota. I think I could spend weeks here and never run out of things to do. Of course,no visit would be complete without a visit to Mt. Rushmore.

The first time we visited here was on our family honeymoon trip 10 years ago. It was the most amazing trip, and we decided then and there to return for our 10th Anniversary. Well, a lot of things can happen in 10 years, and Mr. Bill was killed beofre we could make good on that decision. But, my son and I decided that we needed to follow that dream, and here we are!

One of the more memorable parts of that family honeymoon trip was our visit to Mt. Rushmore. It was memorable for so many reasons. It is a most inspiring place. The four Presidents were chosen to represent the first 150 years of our country history. When you are approaching on the road, your first glimpse of the carvings will take your breath away, and standing on the view terrace of the memorial looking up at the mountain will give you goosebumps. But, on that trip, another life changing event occurred in my life. Walking up that path I experienced the first symptoms of RSD. I was walking towards the mountain when I felt the first excruciating pain that would become a constant in my life.  I had to find a place to sit down as I waited for it to pass. I remember thinking that I had never felt anything like it before-not when I had cancer, not when I broke my back in a car wreck, not when I was in labor for 72 hours. No pain I had ever felt came close to what I felt there in the shadow of the mountain. It passed in a couple of minutes, and I chalked it up to being in the car for hours, needing more exercise, etc. I had no idea then that the pain in my right leg that day would eventually become constant and spread to the rest of my body. That day it was just a momentary nuisance.

This trip I am using a walker, and taking my time, because that momentary nuisance is now a constant presence in my body. One of the several chronic pain conditions that plague my middle aged body. But, as I have mentioned before, the pain in my body is never allowed to win, never allowed to define who I am or what I choose to do. Of course, that is not to say that it hasn't changed the way I do things. So, me and my friend PurpleWalker,were at Mt. Rushmore again yesterday, walking up that same path where I met RSD for the first time.

I chose to let my son explore on his own for a bit as I sat and relaxed in on the view terrace. Soon, a young woman came to sit near me as she caught her breath. She asked about my walker, and during the conversation she shared that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. We talked about attitude being the key when battling any problem. I shared some of my health history, and assured her that she was more than her disease, and that her disease could ravage her body but that it could never steal her spirit. We spent a sweet half hour sharing, and I believe it was good for both of us.

Healing comes. Healing comes in its own time and its own way.Spirit uses places and people to bring the peace that is necessary for healing to take hold. Spirit is strong here in the Black Hills, and a few cleansing tears have fallen, but the opportunity to encourage the young cancer patient was truly a moment that could only have been orchestrated by Spirit.

I have been feeling useless lately. I have felt like a failure, that I have failed my beloved husband by not being able to keep the house he was so proud of buying for us. I have felt that I am failing my son because our finances are so unstable. Choosing to make this trip was difficult, after all, my house is in foreclosure. This trip is costing roughly the equivalent of one mortgage payment. Not enough to save our house, and honestly I think we are receiving a better return on the money! Yesterday I was able to encourage a stranger. I was able to say to her that cancer is survivable, I've done it. I was able to say to her that pain does not define you in any way, and that you must believe that you can heal. You must hold on optimism and be open to the lessons that Spirit will arrange for you. I felt the healing taking place in her, but more importantly I felt healing happening in me.

I am not a failure as long as I am open to the urging of Spirit, as long as I can be where Spirit can use me. I am not useless. My diseased body is not who I am, and I may have to do things differently, but I can still manage to be where Spirit needs me to be. I am able to persevere and be available for healing. Someone else's, maybe, but my own for sure!!!!  

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