Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unfinished Business by Gail Napora

Martha note: Gail was a member of the last happy band of folks to take my JMU Lifelong Learning Institute's class on personal essay writing. As we were all of  "a certain age," the  final assignment was to write about the "unfinished business" in our lives.

As all of either have health struggles or love someone who does, I thought you might perchance be moved by Gail's attitude toward her own.

photographs just don't capture the real Gail!

Just before the alarm sounds I roll upright and stretch my feet to the floor.

I am alive to start the day. I am grateful and I am thoughtful.

It takes twelve steps for the bones in my feet to click into the positions that make walking possible, and by then I am ready to find the pills that keep my motor running. Without the pills I slow steadily. Without the pills, my metabolism will eventually become too slow to keep me upright for more than an hour without a matching hour of sleep for recovery.

Though I do not like to compare myself, or my challenges, to others, I am completely aware that every moment I am alive is a gift. I have almost died a few times.

I often think about it and wonder if the repeating of near-death events is because I didn’t get the message the first time. 

Now, -- though I am not confident of having gotten the message, -- I AM grateful to be alive.

I don’t have any grudges or hard feelings to resolve. I make an effort to be available and kind to people who do have grudges or hard feelings, especially if those things are about me.

I don’t have a list of things I want to do. Each time I almost died I didn’t regret what I hadn’t done, or yearn for a trip, activity, or experience. Instead, I affirmed that doing is not what living is about for me.  Being is.

So I bargained with God for time to be with my children, time to be a better person, time to be present to everyone in my circle of living. God has given me time each time I came to the door. 
For that response, I am grateful.

I take my pills to keep moving. I take fifteen minutes afterward, every day, to sit and appreciate the time I have been given, the family I love, the world and its beauty. And then I take another 15 to dream of fun things  -- like living at the ocean, or driving a sports car fast. I imagine doing really big art every day, or playing cards for hours with my children. I think about the charities I admire and how I can do more than give money.

I am thoughtful and I am grateful. That is my business. 

It is not unfinished, but it must be done.
--Gail Napora lives north of the 'burg and spends most of the spring and summer catching butterflies with her camera. The Short- form class introduced a new way of 'seeing' and 'saying' that is sure to influence everything she does.

Martha note# 2: Thanks to Alexis Hart and everyone else at VMI for all the rousing conversations yesterday about writing. And thanks to everyone who listens to WMRA who came to last night's talk.

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