Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Everyday Courage


Recently I had some old family friends from Back East visit me for a week. They stayed at my home since I have two upstairs guest bedrooms. Naturally, they wanted to visit and explore Fort Collins, but they really came out to visit our gorgeous parks and natural landscapes. Fortunately, the early Fall weather cooperated beautifully by providing bright sunshine and temps in the 70s for most of their trip, only turning cooler & windy at the end.

Nothing extraordinary about having visiting guests, right? Well, usually that's true. However, this husband and wife team have some additional challenges. He inherited a type of muscular dystrophy that begins slowly and increases its disability every year. At this point at 70 years old, he has had to have heavy metal braces from below knee to his toes on both lower legs for years now. Over 20 years.

At this point, walking is actually an act of will. His body doesn't want to cooperate. He balances carefully and with use of a cane and by holding on to a handrail or a wall or someone's arm or shoulder, he maneuvers around. Steps are a challenge, and my house is a tri-level, which means there are steps going up to bedroom level and steps going down to family room/bedroom level. Living room/dining/kitchen on middle level. Quite a challenge, huh? The amazing thing is---their house has exactly the same design. So he has to negotiate all those steps every day of his life several times.

And he doesn't just stay in the house. Oh, no. He's out and about every day. We went to crowded cafes several times. They attended church with my mom, and of course, had glorious days by themselves up in Rocky Mountain National Park where they got to see more elk than they imagined---and heard the bugling. Lots of it. They also got up into our Cache La Poudre Canyon, north of Fort Collins. All in all, it was a spectualar trip for them and they loved every minute of it. And they had to work a lot harder to enjoy it than most of us do when we drive up into the High Country.

Watching my friend go through all the effort necessary to merely enter the house and move around was humbling. It made me so grateful--once again--for my sound, healthy body. And legs that move with no problem. It certainly puts everything in perspective. Two of his sisters and his brother are already in wheelchairs. My friend wants to avoid that as long as possible. His doctor told him to "keep walking." He does, and he's an inspiration. God Bless him.