Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Friendship. And Black Holes.

            My soul and writer friend, Sally, recently introduced me to Netflix. Ahhhh. Sweet. Restful. Entertaining. Relaxing.  I found a brand new world of television.
            Those who read my words and/or who know me well are aware that I’ve never been a TV addict. Off and on some shows interested me. Now and then I found time to relax and enjoy watching make-believe life come alive with happy endings within thirty minutes of allotted time. Somehow, as a fiction writer, few modern day sit-coms or dramas hooked me.

So be it.
My life is always full.
Solving heavy problems.
In real life.

Then came marriage. And THE NEWS.

So be that, also.

Again, those who read my words and/or who know me well are aware that in addition to many other things, I am a caregiver.
Full time.
Twenty-four seven.
To two precious and beloved care receivers.

And…. At 77 years old, my own health demon issues rise up and make a frontal attack at the most inopportune times.

That’s life. Also.

Therefore, escape is sometimes golden. Beautiful. Sustaining. Restful. Replenishing.

Enter:  WEST WING.

Wait. The plot thickens.
You also know…. I am one of those die-hard, disgusting, awesome, judgmental, understanding, stupid, intelligent, surprising conservatives who leans just a tad to the right. J

Disclaimer: I am so hooked on The West Wing that I am writing my congressman to determine what happens if, in the next presidential election, I write in Josiah 'Jed' Bartlet  for President. Will that be a vote for Martin Sheen?????? (Awesome)

But, I digress.

            My husband and I continue to count birthdays and life is slowing to that snail’s pace. *sigh*  We now belong to that terrible, left-out, sad, group known as the “home-bound.”
            Actually, we really do go out a lot. We regularly and routinely visit our physicians: primary care peeps, physical therapy specialist, eye doctors, hearing aid professionals, skin cancer surgeons, and many others who try to keep us moving and well and independent.

Because of many and sundry problems and health issues, we find it more and more difficult to get to church and, sadly, our participation in our many and sundry volunteer activities ceased several years back.

            YET – we LOVE life. It is a thrill when a child or in-law or grands or great drops by for a short or an extended visit. We love it when a niece, nephew and/or their offspring stops in to chat. We make a point to go out to dinner occasionally and what fun that is….in our still small town, we ALWAYS run into people we know!!! We try to remember to call up friends for lunch dates from time to time. We take part in any and everything possible to stay busy, alert, involved, interested. and interesting. We read …. And yes, we watch THE NEWS. We are most certainly well informed.

But, well informed.

So. What does “The West Wing” have to do with all of this? Besides entertaining me on those long nights when I struggle with that evil spirit Restless Leg Syndrome????

So glad you want to know.

In Episode 32, both John Spencer and Bradley Whitford turned in brilliant performances. In the next to final scene,  Leo McGarry (John Spencer) told a story to Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford). The story stopped me cold. I back-tracked. Listened again. Cried. Replayed the scene.

Leo, an alcoholic, understood life. He cared deeply about his friend Josh who was in a life and death struggle with post violence trauma.

Ahhhhh, yes.

With apologies to the writers and/or the original creator of “the story,” here is my version.

          A woman walked down a busy sidewalk. She tripped and fell into a hole. A deep hole. A dark hole. A hole so deep and full of mud and muck and slick sides she could not get out.
          A physician walked by and the woman yelled, “Doctor!!! Can you help me?”
          The doctor stopped. He found a piece of paper, wrote out a prescription, and dropped the paper into the hole.
          Later, the woman stopped sobbing when she heard a minister walk by. She screamed, “Pastor, can you help me?”
          The minister stopped. He also found a piece of paper, wrote down a prayer, and dropped the paper into the hole.
          Sometime later, nearly dead, the woman hears someone else approaching. It is one of her friends. With almost her last, weak breath, the woman pleads, “Friend, can you help me?”
          The friend jumps into the hole.
          The woman looks at her friend in angry astonishment and spews, “Are you crazy? Why did you do that? Now both of us are in this hole.”
          The friend smiles, “Yeah. But, I’ve been here before. I know the way out.”

            Maybe you don’t know about dark holes. I’m glad.
            I do know. I have spent time in several black, muddy, slimy holes. I’ve been there.
           And..... I have known and loved friends who almost died in one of those holes.

Life-sucking holes come in all colors of black from spousal abuse to homelessness to death's-door-illness to grief to simple and ordinary things that change lives and hearts and souls.
            I am thrilled to tell that that I DO know the way out.
And, I have jumped into more than a few holes with others. Many times. Sometimes the friend turns on me when we find our way back to the good world. So be it.
            Some who climbed out were grateful and grew and learned and turned around to help others in turn.

The take-away?

Judging does not help.
Spending time in the hole with a friend is, indeed, a v.e.r.y good thing.

I am exceedingly blessed with friends who jumped right into that black, slimy, dark hole with me, sat still for awhile, and then showed me the way out. I still remember and treasure each one of those precious souls. You know who you are. I love you.

Please. Pass it on.

Dearest Love and Blessings,