Sometimes I run across little tidbits of wisdom, usually snippets of larger essays, and the wisdom of the words wrap me up and warm me like a blanket in winter. Restores my faith.
And that happened this morning. Saturday. About 7:30 a.m., pre cup of tea. Actually it was before I even got out of bed.
The words came in a post on Facebook from one of my sweet friends, though the words didn’t originate with her, and she didn’t claim they did. She only shared them, I imagine, because they spoke to her.
“There are some things you can only learn in the middle of your storm.”
On Thursday, I got the word – high praise actually – from the orthopedic physician’s assistant that my knee was … Well she didn’t say “fine.” It’s not fine, it’s bone-on-bone. I’ve had too many birthdays and not enough precautions and care of myself for it to be fine. But I’m walking 99.9 percent pain-free, and doing, and living. Considering only a little more than a month ago I was in a wheelchair, I’m OK. OK fine.
No surgery in the foreseeable future, and she didn’t recommend the steroid shots.
“Go to Disney World,” she said.
Which I was planning to do. If you’re reading this on Sunday, I’m already on my way, accompanied by my 6-year-old granddaughter, her daddy and his fiancé. We can’t wait.
I won’t deny there’s been a lot of intervention so I could go from the completely unable to walk, to my current, improved state. It all started with an infection beneath a 30-year-old dental crown which spread to my bloodstream. So first there was an effective high-dose antibiotic. Then oral surgery to extract the tooth and stop the infection at the source. Then physical therapy three times a week. There was the lingering fear of “it’s going to hurt if I do this.” There were ice packs, and friends bringing groceries and others who walked the dog. There were prayers and encouragements and voices of concern. There were exercises I made myself do, and determination I found every time I thought I would rather have a pity party and do nothing.
The knee was only a little of what was going on, and none of the rest of it needs to be aired. Sometimes the most difficult thing is letting those you dearly love struggle with their own bad choices.
So, yes, June of 2018, was my latest storm. What I learned is mostly what already knew, but with a twist. That there’s no real failure in letting go, saying “no” or very politely, “We can’t do that now. Someday maybe, but not today, and not now.” And the reply to the argument to that, is, “Not now does not mean never, just ‘not now.’”
I learned – again – that you’ve got to have hope and you have to believe. Hope needs to hang there like a piece of fruit just out of reach, ready to pick to push us to decide if we need to look for a ladder, or wait for the fruit to fall. All hope must hold the reality of what is attainable, yet teach the necessity of patience. That what is right is worth the effort to attain, and the time it takes to achieve. Hope is a necessity.
But so is faith. I have written on a card, framed near my bathroom mirror, a sentence from a 2013 sermon by the Rev. Steven Sweet. “Faith allows us to be able to face life like it is and still believe it is good at its core.”
My daddy always said the same thing, I guess, but in a different way. He said, “It will be OK.”
In the larger context of a story, he would say, “Find the calm. Don’t worry about all that could go wrong, but focus on what could go right. You don’t have to know what OK is, to know that it will happen.”
Now I know, that my OK is not what I expected, and it didn’t get there in the manner I expected it to. But it is OK.
Better than I hoped, I should admit.
In the very calm after my summer storm of pain and doubt, I remembered what I’ve always believed, the Swedish proverb I’ve often quoted in this space. “Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.”
Editor’s note: Candace Cooksey Fulton, formerly of Brownwood, is a freelance writer now living in San Angelo. She writes weekly columns for the Brownwood Bulletin and the San Angelo Standard-Times, each unique to the particular paper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.