Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three Time Lucky

Timing is everything.

Sometime around noon today I found myself in the Defibrillator Clinic at the Toronto General Hospital trying to maintain some semblance of composure as I explained to my mother, in the public waiting room, that I was being admitted, yet again. I need a third surgery to fix a misplaced lead in my heart. My Mom immediately grabbed my hand and suggested we say a little prayer. “Let’s just give this to God. He’s already here,” she whispered. So I began to silently chant, “God you are taking care of me.” We were sent downstairs for x-rays and blood work while my room was being organized. I kept chanting.

As I stood in line for blood work I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful young Caribbean girl, maybe 16 or 17 years old, in line in front of me. Her hair was wrapped in a lovely head scarf, she looked about four months pregnant and like she felt quite ill. When she approached the desk to register everybody in line learned that she didn’t have a Health Card, and the test she required cost thirty dollars, which she didn’t have. Before her conversation with nurse ended I started to frantically tear through the black abyss I carry around as a purse, looking for thirty dollars. All I could find was a twenty. I ran over to my Mom, who had not seen or heard the situation, and barked at her to quickly give me ten dollars. The look on her face at any other time would have been Candid Camera material, but I in was in a hurry. I caught the young woman at the doorway and slid the money into her hand. She turned and collapsed in tears on my chest. “Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you.” I just held her and told her everything would be okay. I hope I didn’t lie. A little while latter, we bumped into her again as she was coming out of an elevator. She offered me the $1.50 in change left over from the thirty dollars. I kissed her cheek and hugged her. I didn’t know what else to do.

I got in the elevator to go up to my room. In that moment all the fear and anxiety that I was feeling evaporated. It was only thirty dollars, but this third surgery is worth it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Like begets Like

A friend gently reminded me today, via email, that it has been sometime since I've blogged (thanks Marty). I had no idea so much time had passed. My last blog, April 5, was two days before finally leaving the hospital after a month long visit that included two surgeries involving my heart. Days are much shorter at home and recuperating has absorbed all my energy, but I am grateful for the reminder.

I am still living with the remnants of many acts of kindness that supported me through my hospital stay. Our home is filled with beautiful plants that will hopefully live to enjoy a special place in the garden - transplantation is their only hope. Our bureau is crowded with cards and notes, and a stack of books on the office desk will keep me 'well read' for months; although, truthfully, my reading time correlates directly with my stamina, inversely. So I hope the amount of time I have to read begins to diminish somewhat, meaning my stamina is increasing and I can do other things!

As I savor all the kindness that has enriched my life over the past while, I've noticed how my thoughts are influenced. Kindness begets kindness. Outward conditions and experiences are an expression of inner thoughts. The more I think about all the kindness, generosity and care that has been shown me, the more kind and generous and caring I feel and become. The more time that I devote to thinking 'Right thoughts' the less time and energy I give to negative thought habits. When our thoughts about others are merciful and generous we bless not only them, but ourselves.
We need to practice kind thoughts.

Tonight many Americans were kind and generous, supporting charities featured on Idol Gives Back. Please take a few moments think about these worthy organizations.

Remember, so within, so without.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Humility and Small Acts

“Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all.”
William Temple (1881-1944)

I like to think of the dakbands as a tool to help each of us achieve that freedom.

The Canadian International Documentary Festival (Hotdocs) begins on April 29. The schedule looks amazing. I am, however going to concentrate on seeing the films from their Small Acts category: Everyday acts of kindness, leadership and change. I'm impressed that there is even such a category!