Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In the beginning

I find myself moving forward, fantastically alive and thriving, but my tale begins by looking back. Injury is the epilogue, and my story finds me starting out more lonely than I knew; but it moves rapidly into healing, and discovery, and love.

Briefly, it begins like this. I hurt my back. Really hurt it. For days, I could barely move. Making it across the room was an uncertainty, a journey fraught with the peril of gravity, and a fragile tightness of being. During the weeks that followed, I managed to return to work, but those few steps from one handhold to the next, from the doorway to the desk, from the railing to the wall, were always filled with fervent prayers that I please, please not fall.

I went to see all the specialists, from physical therapists who tried to help, to surgeons whose integrity led them to profess that they could not help at all. Some made it worse. None could fix it. But my search, my unwillingness to capitulate to the captivity of my own ailing body, was eventually rewarded with the name of a woman who asked me the question I needed to hear.

Her name is Natalie Matushenko, and when we first met, we talked about my life, what it was, and what I wanted it t o be. I told her about working with children, how much I had loved that, and she wanted to know why I had given it up. I told her it did not pay enough. She looked at me and asked, "So?" A moment that changed my life. I had no good answer, no response that could satisfy that question. "So?"

So... I decided that I would find a volunteering opportunity, start working with children again, while I sorted out the rest of my life, found ways to address my pain, put my life on track. Down the street I found my chance, at the Campagna Center, where they needed tutors for school-age children. While I was filling out their paperwork and telling my story, the Assistant Director told me about There, I found a new job. A new job where my boss said, "I have a friend you should meet."

She was right. Her friend's name is Kathy, and Kathy and I are to be wed in a few days. Three months after that, the two of us will be moving to Africa. Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, to be precise. But I get ahead of myself...

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