Dear Reader, how have you been? I see that you are still logging in to read World Adventurers, because this site is still getting hundreds of hits each day. Thank you for your patronage. I hope there is enough good material in the World Adventurers archives to keep you interested in visiting the site frequently–even when I’m away on vacation. Perhaps I should recruit a guest contributor to fill in during my absence (Anyone want to contribute?). I was planning to write last night using my aunt’s computer in Montana, but I was having too much fun to break away and blog. Now that I’m back at my mom’s house and my family has crashed for the night, I can sneak now in some meandering musings. Note to Tortmaster: I took over 250 photos of scenes from Montana and will post a few soon. Note to Wade3016: I’ll give you a call about meeting up in Idaho later this week.
I saw many members of my extend family this weekend. Interestingly, the most memorable moment came not from seeing my own family, whom I’ve wanted to see for about two years, but when I met a stranger. Don’t get me wrong–we had a wonderful weekend, and I had a lot of fun. But this encounter with a stranger and the life lesson it brought sticks in my mind. It happened today while I visited my grandmother at a nursing home. Just before I left, I met one of her neighbors, a lady who could not have been older than 50. She was strapped into in a motorized wheelchair and physically battered, scarred and obese from years of living in a wheelchair. She spoke slowly, but she was articulate. She was a friendly sort, much more jovial than I expected. She blithely encountered me just as I was saying goodbye to my grandmother. Most residents in this nursing home are over 65 years of age and largely immobile. This lady’s youth and enthusiasm were notable. As we talked, she told me bits and pieces of her life–that she had been in this nursing home for almost 20 years after almost dying in a car accident, that she had three children who were now grown and living in other states, that she was divorced from a husband who had abused and threatened to kill her. Her haste to flee from him ended in an accident that nearly cost her her life. Instead, it left her physically maimed. However, the accident did not destroy her spirit. During our brief encounter she told me that she was happy because God loved her and that "Jesus is the best husband I’ve ever had." While she meant that metaphorically, I was really touched by this woman who may have been my age when her life was changed forever by accident. I thought about what the past 20 years must have been like for her–living in a nursing home, wheelchair-bound, watching other residents come and go as they passed on in death. I was both greatly saddened and inspired by her story. I am so touched that she has had a positive attitude through tragedy and found something that fills her life with joy. I wondered whether I would do the same if I were in her situation. Would I despair and give up hope? Would I blame God? Would I try to end my life? I never want to know.
The lady said that her dream was to move closer to her grandchildren who live in another state. I do not know whether she lives in this home voluntarily or because her children prefer not to move her closer to them. I hope she will realize her dream. She has been through so much already. She should not be destined to live the rest of her life in a nursing home in Montana, far away from her family. Then again, maybe those who live in the nursing home are the only family she has now.
I never thought the highlight of my time in Montana would could from a meeting with a stranger.
Note to Angeline: Angeline, thank you as always for your comments and inspiration. We really don’t know what will happen in the future. If my wife receives a job offer, we’ll have to weigh our options. Separating for a long period of time is not something we would like to do. We have done it before–most recently for four months in 2004. She remained in Seattle with her parents while I moved to Washington, D.C. for work. She followed soon thereafter. Still, as you know, separation would cause a tremendous strain on the family, and we hope to avoid that. We have a few other options. Separation is just one option AND the worst-case scenario. Another option is to have a second child, in which case my wife would stay home. We don’t really know what we will do until we cross the proverbial bridges of life and have to choose which paths to take. We’ll do our utmost to make sure that we are together. My employer has an excellent track record when it comes to assigning tandem couples. Most couples who are separated do so voluntarily.
Note to Quemino: I was sorry to find out that I can’t visit you online anymore! We’ll only be in Seattle for about 24 hours during this trip, but we’ll be back in February when we move from Korea to Paraguay.