Shake Ups

The new year grabbed me in a choke hold and hog-tied me before I had a chance to even think about what it might bring. It started with a text that my mother was in hospital, followed by a harried searching of flights and anxious speculating about how I’ll get home. Me, who hasn’t ventured anywhere without an escort for over four years.

Needless to say, I made it, and even though my symptoms are flaring and I’m exhausted, I am also pleased by what this effort portends. Dare I hope for an even greater return to life?

It’s been four-and-a-half years since I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – the disease that severely disrupted my life. In almost imperceptible graduations, I have improved. This recent shake up seems to have pushed me over a line from which I can redefine myself (unless a setback is triggered, which is always a concern.)

Mom has rallied around and is currently stable. The woman is incredible. Although she says she no longer wants to live with constant pain and struggles, she keeps going – insisting on walking me to the elevator after my visits and taking her meals in the dining room.

“At least I know you love me,” she pats my arm. “No need to come back again should something happen.”

She’s more worried about me being inconvenienced than she is about her own health. Ever the mother.

I have no regrets about coming, and as cliché as it sounds, I feel as if this happened for a reason. I needed something to break me out of my comfort level and stir me up.

“It’s like I’ve been living in a bubble,” I tried to explain to Mom. “No noise, constant rest, limited interaction, and measured outings.”

“It’s not right, at your age,” was her response. “You’re young yet.”

It’s not how I ever saw my life going, for sure, always so active and involved. I wonder now if I’ll ever get some of that back.

2019 has accosted me and thrown me 1600 miles off-base, but I also have a sense that this is what I have needed to break up the waxy build up that has been molding me into an ugly complacency.

I am sixty, and if my mother’s legacy is anything to go by, I still have thirty years left of life. Time to start setting a vision for myself, I’d say.



He Who Talks To God

“What do you see?”

The child stood before his mother, eyes wide and staring as if through her. His small body trembled.  It was just past midnight, and he’d risen from his bed in a panic, disoriented by the darkness.

“God” he answered, breathlessly, the urgency in him rising.

“What does he look like?”

“I can’t see him.  His light is too bright.  But he’s holding up a giant orb.”

Chills ran down the mother’s spine.  An orb? Not the language of a nine-year-old boy.

“What does it mean?”

“He’s showing me weather, like storms and floods, and fire, and stuff.”

“Why do you think He’s showing you this?”  

“It’s a message,” the boy’s face, so angelic in this dim light, made his mother’s heart ache.  What was happening to her son?

“God wants us to know that hard times are coming, and that we will have to learn to live together differently.  He wants us to get along, take care of one another.”

“That is a good message.”

The boy relaxed then, his body surrendering to her arms.  She rocked him gently, wondering what to say.

“Are you afraid?” she asked after a pause.

“No, Mom,” he replied matter-of-factly.  “There are angels here too.”

“There are?”

“Yes.  They came first, to tell me God was coming.”

She guided his slender body back to bed, sitting on the edge and stroking his hair as he fell back into a deep sleep.

“Do other people see God?” he asked her the next morning.

“There have been others, yes,” she answered hesitantly.  They’d stopped going to church years before.  

“Really?  How do you know?”

“It’s written down.”

“In a book?”

“Yes.  It’s called the Bible.”

She kept him home from school that day, sensing his need to be close to her.  Later, they ventured to the mall where a man sold scrolls with the meaning of names.  

“Maybe he has my name!”  

“No, son.  I made your name up.  You won’t find it there.”

But the boy persisted, asking the man if he had any information about his name.

“I do!” came the reply.  “Your name has two meanings, depending on the Greek or Hebrew translation.  It means He who talks to God or He who listens to God.

The boy beamed, while the mother felt a deep sense of inadequacy settle around her.

(Written for Willow Poetry’s challenge:  What do you see?  Image provided by Hélène Valliant.)