Some people are just born with grace in their beings, blood, breath. Maybe not enough people, but enough to remind the rest of us of the path that is possible and the way of that path.
I watch her. She walks toward me, it has been months since I have laid eyes on her. I see first her beauty. Her hair is a new color, but it is rich and deep like her and it must be the color she was born with because it not only becomes her, it is her. Her beauty reaches out in front of her and trails behind her, it reaches softly like her being and like her smile. I feel that first, I see it second.
I look harder.
And then I see her now.
She walks with what is more than an imperceptible limp, an almost awkward gait. She walks with that delicate precision that is the giveaway of the too careful, it is the sign where anything less or anything more, is far too painful if not impossible. She is fighting a new battle, one of many and this one the hardest, this one is to keep walking and keep moving and make the impossible, possible, it is the one that is her statement, "I am winning this round."
We hear about and see diseases, the kind that eat away, the kind that destroy, the ones of the mind that leave the silent, the ones of the body that bit by bit take it all away. I have watched my mother, my sister, my sweetheart battle pain that I can't comprehend. I have watched one friend die with cancer and when she left being so transparent, weightless and changed in body, that there was nothing left but her bright and shining soul.
This friend has battled one illness after another, she has opened the door to death, smiled graciously as is her way, had the requisite conversation and gently but firmly closed the door with a firm, "please come back later." Death and death's dark friends the ones that challenge and hone, scare and silence us, have stood watching her, too often. They took her mother, her grandmother, her aunts, all the women, a decade before they were as old as she. She is determined to fight the fight of her ancestors and her own at one time and win the battle for all of them.
She is one of the truly brave and beautiful. Her childhood scarred and scalding. Too much of the never-knowing, the unexpected grief and pain, the judgment, the dark corners, everything but the comfort and the consistency, everything but the grace and graciousness that are her inherent being, everything that would challenge her young and make her want to be normal, because she believed normal would be where she would finally find acceptance or safety. At 60 she has finally begun to accept, normal is not, and has never been, her path. She has had a string of successful careers and businesses, and a string of disappointments. She has been the outspoken speaker for the underdog, the downtrodden, the abused and the scared. That voice of truth cost her a business and a home she loved, those in power bent on taking it all away from her not realizing that all to her was her boys and her own heart and they had no power over those. They had come to tell her the night before, "you leave tomorrow, we are evicting you in the morning, it is over." Quietly she had closed the door, turned back to the music, smelled her just-picked flowers, continued baking and cooking, feeling the softness of the home she loved, determined that until the last conceivable moment she would immerse herself in all of it.
She raised those boys alone, no help from their father, she worked, she nurtured, she never missed a chance to empower them or support them or encourage them to be everything a human can be. And, they are. Now they are men that we all long to know and meet, kind, compassionate, smart, successful and fully devoted to their wives and children, doing it all, just like she did.
She would go on and earn degrees in her spare time and use those to speak for herself and for those who most needed to be spoken for. She would reach out her hand to help someone to and over the bridge that they could not even see. At some point she began to understand her work was other-wordly---that it was about energy seen and not seen. She became the student of the shaman's path.
Physician heal thyself.
Go to the place that is the darkest place within you, the dark place of the spiritual, of the emotional, of the physical and find your way back. And when you have done it, do it again, and again, and again.
She has. Her body born fragile, has continued to be challenged every year, always with more to come. And now on top of all of those challenges, the little tick that bit her years ago and left its poison to wreak a demolition derby in her body for the next five years has almost won. The views are split and many, how do you heal those with this type of sickness, what might work, or has the best chance of working before everything quits working. She has taken the only path for her. Wholistic and careful and non-traditional. Expensive, more than she makes in a month. She walks, she drives, she works, she takes care of the animals, her doctor unable to understand how she can do any of it, but it is who she is and she will do it.
She tells me, "last week I began walking into chairs and tables and I cannot control the direction of my steps, the pain is unbearable and I am scared."
I am running out of words, I am running out of hope to spread, I only can find a little humor and a true, real question to share. "WHAT were you f--ing thinking when you wrote the blueprint for this life? what were you thinking to become a saint in one go-round???"
She laughs. She nearly always finds a laugh. But the laugh itself is quiet and thoughtful. She has lived so many miles of challenge, of fight. She has always found her way and she has always found her way alone. The moments when most she has needed anyone, they have not been there. She has not complained, (I try to think when I have ever heard her complain) but she has suffered and then she has gone on, to heal herself and do it. It is as she says, her path.
I watch her walk towards me. I see her pain. I see her heart. I hold her heart in mine.
I have faith in her.
I see her glance behind her at darkness and his friends, she waves to them and keeps walking towards me.
She is nothing but beautiful.
She is one of the strong, one of the Amazon strong and she is pure-out, full-on grace and glory.