Friday, September 16, 2011

In the Blink of an Eye

"Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God."

       --Mary Manin Morrissey, Speaker and Author

There are things in life that are just downright unfair. Like young folks being in the hospital.

Right now, at this very moment, three exceptional people are in hospitals around the state, and it hurts my heart to see them there.

The first is Nicole's long-time friend Tony Hill, who was hit by a hit-and-run drunk driver in Hattiesburg a couple of weeks ago. He suffered two broken legs and head trauma and is currently recovering at Forrest General Hospital. Right off the bat, several friends gathered to help out...a fundraiser will be held in Hattiesburg on October 2. A facebook group has been set up so that friends can keep up with his progress and to get information on the fundraiser.

The next is Donovan Childress. After a few days of feeling uncomfortable, he sought medical attention, only to find out he has cancer. He began chemotherapy this week at St. Dominic in Jackson. A fundraiser is being planned for Donovan at Hal & Mal's soon.

We first met Donovan when Josh brought him to Select Specialty Hospital after the two attended a music festival in Austin. Nicole had just been transported to Select Specialty Hospital from New York Presbyterian, and they were just the medicine she needed at the time. Donovan was funny and quirky and it felt like we had known him forever.

I learned later that he had been an elementary school teacher in Memphis and was looking to teach again in Mississippi. I can't imagine having a teacher like him!
The third is Katy Blake, an adorable young woman from the Coast who suffered a spinal cord injury in a canoing accident. She's back at Methodist Rehab for a couple of weeks, giving it all she's got to try to regain whatever function she can.

Katy went to high school with Caitlyn McNally, who was one of Nicole's personal care assistants. When Katy had her accident (a couple of years ago?), they went to see her at Methodist Rehab. I've gotten to know her on Facebook--she's precious!

People came out of the woodwork to help when Nicole had her accident. Here in Mississippi, we know how to rally when someone needs our assistance. The fact of the matter is that no one wants to ask, and it's difficult to accept help, but accepting the kindness of others is a blessing for those who do the giving. It's been heart-warming for me to see how so many people are now stepping up to support these three people.

What really strikes me is that in the face of each of their challenges, they all have a positive attitude. All are so grateful for what is being done for them, and each is looking ahead. Nicole has been making the hospital rounds, trying to visit with each of them, and it's hard for her her to see her friends in such compromised positions. There was a time, not too long ago, when she was the one who was compromised, and I remember how much all those visits from so many friends made such a difference. It was like being wrapped in love over and over again.

Life can change in the blink of an eye. We learned it three years ago, and these three folks have driven that point home again for me. My takeaway from this is that you can't waste your time wondering "what if." You can't fret over what the future will bring. Instead, you must live in the NOW...and appreciate every blessing that is presented to you in this very moment. We spend so much time in the past and projecting into the future that we totally miss the joy in the here and now.

The next few weeks will be filled with excitement for our family. Larry and I have primo seats at the USM game tomorrow, thanks to the generosity of friends. The weather should be perfect, so we'll enjoy heading to Hattiesburg. Nicole flies out in the morning to Honolulu, where she'll be a keynote speaker at next week's International Women's Leadership Conference. She'll be in good company--there are some very powerful women on the program. Being no fool, she's traveling with her hairdresser (who is also a very good friend)--a girl's gotta look good! And finally, I'll be heading to Memphis on Thursday to attend the Memphis Creative Non-Fiction Writer's Workshop. I hope that it will be the beginning of the end of the book I'm writing. (I've written most of it, now hoping the skills I learn in the workshop will help me polish it and market it.)

Please keep our sweet friends in your prayers. And today, focus on what's happening in your life right now--and find the joy in it...for you don't know what tomorrow may bring.

Blessings to all who read this!

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe I never saw this before! I'm so touched you wrote about me. You and your daughter are such strong, inspirational, and incredible women. God bless!