On November 22nd I had a partial knee replacement, spent 4 days in the hospital, 3 weeks of rehab at the hospital and exercises at home then left for Philadelphia for a Board meeting for the Let Go,Let Peace Come In Foundation (I'm on the Board of Directors); I was already off the walker, off the crutches and off the cane (but had to use wheelchairs at the airports). I couldn't go up and down the stairs very well but knew that would come later. After 3 days in Philadelphia where I was able to spend time with my wonderful other board members I headed for home. The next day Tom and I left for 10 days in the Los Angeles area to spend the holidays with our huge family. We returned home on December 27th and by bedtime (with the help of Tom) of the next day all the laundry was done. Ask me if I was tired. I was grateful I had cleaned every bit our huge 3 story home, decorated the house for Christmas and mailed all of the Christmas letters off before I went into surgery.
But some little voice inside of me kept nagging that I needed to clean the house, work harder to market my books and find Lamplighters and do a hundred and one things that just couldn't wait. I finally decided that I wasn't fully recupperated yet, just walking up the stairs exhausted me and that I needed some time to do nothing. Wow! What a concept. Do nothing? The world will fall apart if I did nothing.
The weather outside was frightful (temperatures of 18 degrees with off and on rain), inside was so delightful (a warm fire was roaring in the woodstove), I had a dozen books I was dying to read and I wanted just to do nothing but maybe ponder, that wonderful word that means to examine attentively or deliberately, to carefully weigh a problem; focus my thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply. I was dog tired, my bones hurt; I was still on pain medication, using the ice machine every few hours and doing exercises 3 times a day. I sat down in a recliner near the woodstove. Thirty seconds later I was sound asleep.For the next few days that is all I did, slept long hours and read. But in between I had things to ponder.
Ten days with my family was a delight. We spent 3 to 4 days with each family so there was a lot of moving around. The grandkids are getting older.Our 14 year old was off to New York for ten days with friends. When I was her age the idea of doing something daring and exciting was ice skating on the Beaver River back in Nebraska. My teenage girls are into Facebook, sometimes in ways I don't approve of. They think they're so smart and don't realize they have not yet even begun to obtain wisdom. Don't we all.The little ones, ages 18 months through 11 still think we're magical and spend a lot of time showing us everything they've done and jabbering away about what they plan to do. We have a total of 14 grandchildren and 3 great-grands plus had an added surprise of being told there is another on the way - oh God! why didn't I given them all birth control pills last Christmas? Do you know how hard it is to spoil 14 grands and 3 great-grands?The ones age 18 through 25 are so wrapped up in the paths their lives are taking, all but 2 are in college and their bonding and humor is fun to watch. But I think back. It hasn't been that long since I was there and the information in my brain was limited but I saw it as endless. I had dreams. I wanted to be a writer. I had goals. One day I wanted to have boobs and red hair and straight teeth (I got them all). I had dreams. They were endless. Life was endless and my ability to do what I wanted to do was endless.
But life got in the way and I stumbled and fell, tried many times to commit suicide, spent time in psychiatric wards after failed suicide attempts, married three abusers and lived through domestic violence problems once living in a woman's shelter, moving through experiences I would never have dreamed of. But it must have been the right path as here I am the founder of an international movement with 72 chapters in 12 countries (The Lamplighters)to help recovery from incest and child sexual abuse, living in a beautiful area in a beautiful home I never dreamed I would and finally, after many "loves in all the wrong places" I am happily married to a wonderful man. While I sat in my recliner, drinking hot spiced apple cider and watching the flames dance against the panes of glass on the wood stove I thought of the words from my favorite poem called Maude Muller written by John Greenleaf Whittier. One line has captured my mind:"For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these:' It might have been.' " And yet, despite life, here I am exactly where I am supposed to be. And I pray that my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will someday be too. Stay on the right path. Walk with sure footedness, think before you decide and you will never have to say to yourself, "It might have been."