Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Looking for Joy in Mudville

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.

And, somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout.

But there is no joy in Mudville

Mighty Casey has struck out.

The words to “Casey at the Bat” wont stop beating against my skull. A grand and mighty Casey struts through the majority of the poem, but the last line is his defeat; “mighty Casey has struck out”.

From the first line to the last it is there in my head. I didn’t even know that I could recite the whole poem. Why would I memorize “Casey at the Bat”. Maybe I read it so many times to my grandson it got stuck in the back recesses of my brain. Maybe Casey has been waiting all this time to put his arm around me and say, “You too, huh?”

I've had some very unsettling symptoms in my legs this past month. Like Casey I strode up to the bat. I went to see the doctor.

When I left the doctor’s office John asked, “How’d it go? What’d she say?”

I smiled and said, “It’s the polio once again.”

I left it at that. The 'three stricks' had gotten closer. No more needed to be explained.

We laughed on the ride home, we laughed while we ate dinner, and we laughed before the lights were turned out for the night.

But this morning I woke up with the uncertainty, the fear, and Casey. This morning I waited until everyone had gone their separate ways and I sat and cried. And that scares me. I rarely cry over the polio. Polio has been my constant companion, my adversary, my triumph, but rarely has it been my tears.

I know how LUCKY I have been. Many people were affected worse then I was. I lived with them in the hospital. I know how BLESSED I have been. I was born to two of the most wonderful parents a disabled child could dream of having. I know how RESILIENT I have been. I have been down, but I have learned how to get back up. These are things that make me shout with joy.

I read a new journal this past week. I read about a woman that has a sister that married a man that had had polio. I sat there and read the story and my heart hurt for him. He has not been far from my thoughts since. I remember this man that I know little about in my prayers every night. There was a connection other then the polio itself that was pulling me to him, but I was in the dark as to what exactly it was. Yesterday cleared that confusion for me. I'm starting a struggle with the polio he has already undertaken. To what extremes will mine take me?

“Your legs are in trouble. It’s a serious condition with some drastic side effects. It‘s caused by the polio. It‘s complicated because you have to sit in a wheelchair.”

Maybe tomorrow I can convince Casey to go away and deal with his defeat, but today he is driving me crazy.

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