It is a typical Saturday morning where I live. Except . . .
. . . except that there is absolutely nothing normal about this morning, our morning, in this house. We are doing typical spring chores. We've been cleaning up the dead branches fallen from the mighty oak next door, removing the pine cones that litter the front yard, pulling out weeds, killing saplings and sweeping the patio. We've borrowed the neighbor's lawn mower and we have cut the lawn out back for the first time this season. We have laughed and paused in our labors to watch our Basset hound, Celia, sunning on the lawn.
We have even cut back the early spring flowers to make way for the iris and the hydrangea beginning to make their appearance.
All of this is very typical for some but not normal for us.
If you had told either of us a month ago that this would be our activity today we both would have chuckled, embarrassingly, and sarcastically responded, "Yeah. Sure. In our dreams."
I know for a fact that Bruce has not mowed a lawn in fifteen years. When I first met him he wasn't able to even walk on a lawn. When we came to see this house one year after our wedding he struggled to walk in the yard. His steps were as a year-old child; tentative, hesitant, wobbly, faltering and unsteady. At over 200 pounds the thought of him falling to the ground was frightening, terrifying even. His stroke had left his right side generally unresponsive to his brain. He can make his leg move to walk but he cannot make it support him to rise to standing after falling. His right hand is strong but does not respond well. He cannot use it to leverage his body off the ground.
He cannot use that right hand to clutch the handle of a lawn mower or rely on it to push the mower across the grass. With as much concentration as he could muster he was eventually able to persuade his right hand to grab the bar so as not to continue just hovering above the task. He could convince his right leg and foot to move forward while pushing the mower with his left hand but when having to back up, the leg became unruly. Bruce struggled, focussed and the foot eventually complied. Soon he was mowing forward and back, round and round, like all the other men on the block. The process was tediously slow, deliberate and persistent.
I am grateful to God for showing me how important it was for me to stand aside - and continue with my Celia watching, tree trimming, weed pulling, flower cutting, patio sweeping, rose cutting, picture taking and time killing - while Bruce conquered the lawn mowing.
We are celebrating here today.
Bruce mowed the lawn.
Bruce and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary on April 15th.
Also in 2010:
Bruce celebrates his fifteenth year recovering from stroke,
I celebrate my 3rd year recovering from stroke, and
Celia, our Basset hound, celebrates her 2nd year recovering from stroke.
There is nothing typical about this household on this typical Saturday morning in typically sunny Sacramento.