Friday, April 25, 2014

"Politics makes strange bedfellows" -- Charles Dudley Warner

I guess we've all heard this famous quote by C. D. Warner. 
"Politics makes strange bedfellows." 
Honestly, I had to look up the quote to see who actually said it. 
I've spend the past 12 days either preparing for surgery, being tested for surgery, having surgery or fighting off the pain of surgery. 
What does this have to do with politics?  
It's more the "strange bedfellows" I'm  rolling around in my head. 
The invisible tethers that lately have bound me to total strangers-
Ties that are strong and unbreakable that will join me with people I would have never met otherwise. 
Friends/family of choice rather than blood lines or acquaintance. 
I feel blessed, fortunate and smiled upon by God to have met these bedfellows.
I see just a glimpse of what He has in store for me through them. 

I'm not a typical person.  At least I don't think so.  I'm not saying I am above or below average. 
Just not typical.
I grew up in a small, rural community. I had friends there, but never felt I belonged there. 
I yearned for bright lights, big city...excitement, culture, to see things, go places, experience the world. 
I've done just that. 
I've lived quietly in the country and out loud in the city, 
I've gardened, homeschooled and made my own bread. 
I've traveled, stayed put and broken free. 
I've traveled by train, plane and automobile, 
the Metro, the Tube and the Subway. 
I've met strangers, found friends and acquired family of choice. 
I'm blessed. I'm fortunate..and I am real.
 It's the "being real" I'm most proud of. 

So now back to the bedfellows....
Having an obscure brain disorder (or in my case, disorders) has been more of a blessing than a curse. 
I've met the most amazing people along the way. 
A few weeks ago I wrote of finally meeting Katrina.  
After about a year of online banter, we met for lunch. 
Then she opened her home to me. 
Opened her home. She picked me up at the airport, took me to her home, I had my own little cabin in her backyard. She fed me, took me to my doctors appointments, had a birthday breakfast for me (with the help of her friend Misty-whom I love, love, love), transported me back and forth from Houston to Dayton to Baytown to Dayton to Baytown..(you get the picture).
I was treated as a queen.  The kindness of a virtual stranger touched my heart in ways I will never be able to fully express.
I sat there, looking at her on my last day at her home..thinking of some of my "lifelong" friends that have never shown me this much kindness, this much love. 
What makes the difference? 
Is it the brain thing? Is it merely the fact that we have similar zippers? If we had met under other circumstances..would we be friends? 
I'd like to think so. 
Is it because we are both realists? Both givers? Both loyal? 
Or because we both know what it's like to be hurt by those people you expect the most from? 
I think it's because we know what it's like to look fear in the face, to not take good days for granted, 
to cry in the shower so no one hears, to feel abandoned by "friends", 
to feel like a disappointment to our spouses and to feel guilty for complaining about our problems when we know things could be so much worse.
I think it's all of the above and even more. 

I'm nine days post op today for my second craniotomy in sixteen months. 
My body is tired, broken and sore. My spirit is wounded, worn and bruised. 
So forgive this melancholy post about bedfellows. 
Attribute it to the pain meds, lack of sleep  or cabin fever. 
But do me a favor- be real. Take it to heart. Pay it forward. 
Either be all in or all out. Be a friend or don't.  Identify who you are to others, who you portray yourself to be in their lives..and be THAT.  You can't be a BFF and not rise to the occasion when the going gets tough. If you can't follow through, get out of the game. 
If you don't promise what you can't deliver then no one gets hurt. 
Everyone is in need of (and deserves) grace. 

So, Charles Dudley Warner, I beg to differ.  You stated, "Politics makes strange bedfellows." 
I think you are quite wrong. 
I think REALISM makes strange bedfellows. By exemplifying the Golden Rule, following through, offering grace, doing the right thing, showing even the merest form of personal integrity,
We set ourselves apart, strangers to the majority of the world...
When we meet a kindred soul, it doesn't matter the situation, background, race, sex or social standing. 
We become bedfellows. 
We've made our bed--now we have to sleep in it. 

So thank you, Katrina. 
Yes, we are linked together by this  enemy we call Chiari- 
But your personal integrity, kindness and love for a virtual stranger have made you my sister. 
I'm so honored to call you my friend. 

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