This past Friday was a gift. Not just because the sun was out and shining bright and the Indiana winter-weather seemed far away (although that was wonderful too), but because that afternoon, Joey decided to get out of bed and take a little stroll.
That’s not as simple as it sounds when you’ve been in a hospital bed for weeks and were prepared to possibly never walk again. But I guess the power-of-the-will is much stronger than the power of fear. Honestly, I think Joey just got tired of listening to life going on in the rooms outside of her bedroom and tired of wondering what it would be like to be part of it... and she just had her sister Jody help her out of bed and she came out and sat down and joined in for about an hour and a half.
We had some friends and family here at the house with us, and when the door to her bedroom opened up and she came out in the living room, we almost couldn’t believe our eyes. We were all so proud of her, but I think Joey was even more proud of herself.
A few minutes later, my wife had slid from the couch to the floor and was able to be something for Indiana that she hadn’t been able to in weeks and weeks.
She was a mama again.
Playing with and teaching sign language to her little girl, like she’d been dreaming of being able to do.
We’ve all heard it said that each day should be treated like a gift because it’s really the only one we have.
But that’s much easier said than done. Most of the time, not long after we wake up... our minds run away with us—thinking about the future—about next week, and next year... and worry sets in and fear takes the wheel and we are soon barreling down a scary road towards tomorrow, and we never even take the time to notice today while it’s happening.
Before Joey went to sleep this evening, I sat beside her and she told me that for her it’s all come into perspective recently. She said that when you’re lying in a bed day after day and you can do nothing and you don’t know if you’re gonna be here next Christmas, or next month or even next week... you suddenly become hyper-aware that today... that this moment —is all you have.
And that today is enough. It truly is a gift.
Looking at the video clips of Joey walking into the living room and playing with Indy made me think of another time and another gift a few years ago. This one was a song called The Gift that we recorded on our Christmas record in 2011. And I found myself looking at the ‘Joey’ in the video we made back then, and the ‘Joey’ in the video today.
She might look different to you. But not to me.
Yes, she’s a few years older and the chemo and radiation have taken their toll on her physical body. But the same joy in her spirit and the same beautiful smile is still there, shining through.
Cancer can’t take that away from her.