My dear friend and most prolific comment-poster Annie suggested to me today that, at the very least, rather than cut back on my posting, I post updates on my recovery. Sounds like a great idea to me!
The weather here is so volatile. Fortunately, every storm passes and today God blessed me by showing me the light beyond the gray skies.
So first, here’s how things are going. I have been waking up in less and less pain lately. This I see as a very good sign. Perhaps I’ve turned the corner and the fusion is really setting. Now I’m not saying that I’m ready to toss my pills or step outside without my walker just yet. I figure at the six week check-up the doctors will clear me for all of that. That’s just three weeks away. But… I have been feeling better. And more importantly, I’ve been feeling more upbeat. I started my final quarter of work towards my second Master’s degree and I have, with varying degrees of stress, a focus for a better portion of my day than simply watching TV and waiting for 5:30 mass to come along.
Now I’d like to say something else; something important. This is something that pertains to my recovery. I have been incredibly blessed by the prayers of each and every one of you who’ve been stopping by these pages. You see my prayer requests and you’ve taken them to heart. I can tell. Our Blessed Lord is strengthening me, healing me. It’s taking time but it’s His time, not mine. He has also blessed me with the most remarkable wife (whom I hope is reading this so she sees how much I love her). She’s been so loving in her care and so lovely to behold as she cares for me. Almost seven years of marriage and I have only recently come to realize just how special she is to me. “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two become one flesh…” Thank you, Lord, for ordaining it so.
Sonny Boy writing his word list and showing how much he loves his Daddy’s favorite ball club. Let’s go Mets!
He has blessed me with two wonderful children who’s smiles and laughter and playfulness brighten every minute of my time with them. This evening we sat at the counter with Disney princess Play-doh then had music time. Baby Girl played the piano and Sonny Boy played the violin. They know Daddy has been hurt but they’ve been so good to me. Baby Girl loves to be my “nurse” and fetch things for me while Sonny Boy has enjoyed reading to me. Oh yes, he’s been learning to read. I’ll admit Al, a story about an alligator who gets mad at a man boarding a bus because he won’t hand over his hot dog isn’t the most riveting tale. But told by my boy it’s better than Gone with the Wind. Oh and Al contains only monosyllabic words. In rhyme. How the authors (yes there were two of them) made a man-eating reptile into a friendly hero by the end of those 16 pages is amazing. Also, Sonny Boy, Baby Girl, and I have had more fun these past few days laughing at our new favorite TV show. Daddy discovered that re-runs of Mr. Ed air on the Hallmark Movie Channel on Sunday morning. I know of the show but had actually never seen an episode. I DVR’ed five episodes. Today, when the kids were at school… I actually watched an episode by myself. Don’t tell anyone. It’s pretty funny stuff.
He has blessed me with my dear Mom and my wife’s dear Mom. Funny, I was on the phone with my mother this morning, catching up, and we were talking about Wilma (wife’s mom). “You know,” she said to me, “If I could have picked the perfect mother-in-law for my son I would have picked Wilma.” That’s love and I love the both of them.
Baby Girl, fresh from her bath, forgot to put her glasses back on. I asked her to smile for me and she obliged because it “would make you feel better, Daddy!” Buddy the Dog was oblivious to my camera.
He has blessed me with the rest of my wonderful family. My brothers and sisters, in-laws, and a whole slew of people I recently bade farewell to on Facebook have been tenacious in their desire to prop me up and see how I’m doing. I love them all and I’m sorry I had to get off of Facebook. I hope they understand it was just time. I may, in time, activate a newer, smaller account just for the closest of them. I say that because I’m also currently taking a class in social media and education and I’m pretty sure having a Facebook account is a requirement. Should have seen that one coming. Anyway, thank you to all of you and I do love you. My recovery is a tribute to you, all of you, and your prayers, love, and support.
So what’s up with the title of this blog? “Dan the Man”? Tonight I want to single out a man who means a great deal to me. OK, there are two guys and I’m going to embarrass them both (if they’re reading this) by gushing about my admiration for them. First up is my dear friend Dan (the Man). I’ve written about him before. We met when we were both students in a college seminary. He went over that wall long before I did, met and married a woman almost as remarkable as my wife, and fathered three beautiful children. There was a time when we had lost touch but many years ago we got back together. Over the past few years our friendship has manifested itself in occasional visits — we’re in Texas and he’s in Colorado so it’s not that often — and even more infrequently, texts. Very rarely do we speak on the phone. But do you know what? Around the time I was realizing that I was on a fast train to another surgery Dan seemed especially concerned for me. As any true friend would do, he quietly stepped up his contact, genuinely concerned for his old pal. Just yesterday, after an hour on the phone, we started exchanging texts. My God, I can’t repeat any of those texts. It was one of the funniest conversations I’ve ever had and it made me laugh so hard I actually felt myself getting better. The conversation went from our kids’ hobbies to the pain of taking a fastball in the absolute worst place a man can get hit as well as the true reason I don’t play contact sports. He’s laughing right now. You know what else? One night a few weeks ago I made a crazy suggestion that he find some time, use his miles, and come for a visit. I was (sort of) joking. Dan responded within seconds with a promise he’d try to make that happen. I believe him. And even if he can’t, the thought that he’d be willing to leave his own family behind to come keep company with a cripple like me warms my heart. I love this guy. He is a brother to me (and I don’t toss that one around for anything).
The other guy I wanted to mention is a friend named Jim. He and I worked together for only one year and that was a while back. Again, there was a time when we lost contact but, happily, we linked up again. His life and mine share many parallels. We were married a few weeks apart, had been in a seminary, each of us had a son within nine and a half months of our weddings. Our second child was a girl — for both of us. Jim and I don’t stay in as close touch as Dan and I do but we have a very meaningful relationship. We don’t talk on the phone ever, hardly ever text. No, we email each other. It’s like the old art of letter writing just through Gmail instead of with a pen and paper. The only criticism I’d ever offer is that he’s not too quick to reply (he’d admit to that) but our conversations are always honest and very funny. I remember one time writing him a recommendation letter for a teaching job he was looking into. I sent a glowing letter to his prospective employer. But to Jim’s inbox I sent the dummied-up copy wherein I described him in terms no employer would care to hear. We got a good laugh out of it. Lately he’s been working late nights. He’s the faith formation director for his parish and he’s been planning retreats and such. Every time I see his online status I use the opportunity to strike. Usually an hour later he’s realized he hasn’t gotten any work done; but we’ve had a good laugh. I had reason to email him over the weekend with some reflections of a more serious nature. Tonight he sent me a most thoughtful and faith-filled reply, reminding me how blessed I have been to know him and grateful I am to call him a friend. He too, is like a brother to me; though I don’t think he’d be found dead on a flight to Texas so that’s why I said “like a brother”.
You know, throughout the past few weeks I’ve worried that I may have been a big bother to the people in my life and at times wondered how much of a burden I’ve been. As I start to feel better those thoughts are diminishing, thank God. Today was a day wherein I must have been filled with the Spirit and given a moment of clarity in order to begin the process of sharing my gratitude. Thank you, Annie, for your request that I update you on my recovery. You see, the recovery is going fine. But the man who is recovering is blessed beyond belief by the people in his life and I am going to use these pages to tell you about them.
Up next: Gary and his family. You’ll love “meeting” them.