Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Look What a Nag Hath Wrought

Five years ago I met a man. I met him in a pen pal group right here on this computer. He was clever, he was funny, but what I was most impressed with was the wonderful way that he had of putting words together. He wrote the most wonderful letters. I was almost embarrassed to answer them; he was so obviously talented.

We wrote to one another for a year. We shared our history, our families, our worries, and our joys. We had much in common for two people so very different. We both were limited because of disabilities. My disability was a lifetime partner that I had tamed and polished. His was new and he was still learning how to laugh around the pain of loss. But the real beauty in our meeting was the writing. We wrote and wrote and wrote.

One morning I woke up to find a long letter from him. In it he told me I had had a very interesting life and I should find a way to share it. I thought that maybe his disability had done some brain damage. Me? An interesting life?

“It’s just been a life.”

When he came to the West Coast to visit we sat on the beach and he held my hand and urged me to write, “to put my story out there”. I laughed. He was the professional writer. He was the one that should be read.

But it became a mantra with him. He said that he felt that it was one of the reasons that we had been directed to one another. He would nag me to write my history and I would nag him to thumb his nose at limits.

Last night I sat in a chat room and waited quietly. The only chat I shared was a ‘hello’ to Sam of Dock Lines. There were four people that I felt very passionate about. I wanted them to win an award for the joy that their words have given me. I wanted to see their names come across that chat room. I wanted to hold my breath, cross my fingers, and yell when they won.

I have to be honest here. I never considered that I would win. It just didn’t occur to me that I held a candle to the other people that were nominated in my category. It wasn’t false modesty. It was just a solid fact. So when my name came across the screen I just sat there for a few minutes. Then it came bubbling out of me and I yelled so loud that the whole family came running to see what was wrong.

“I won! I won! I won!” It was all I could say. And then the tears started. My family screamed and yahooed and danced, and I cried. I actually sat here and cried. I have stood on a stage in front of 10,000 people and accepted an award and didn’t feel like I felt sitting here all alone, in front of a computer screen, when I saw my name in that chat room.

And I owe it all to my nagging pen pal, John AKA Bosox, that became my nagging housemate. Without him I never would have dared to transfer from writing in my ledgers to writing an on-line journal. I love him for that ... and I love all of you for taking time out of your lives to sit and read what I have written. You have given me a gift that can’t be equaled.






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