We've enjoyed some sunshine on these days, and Friday Travis bagged some old debris from what had been a fire pit on our land, but will soon no longer exist. The former owners had apparently felt a need to burn not only their trash, but to burn their bottles, as well as metal and aluminum cans. So quite a bit was left to shovel... as you can imagine... after what must have been an extended amount of time in use. I loaned moral support by holding the bags open to the edge of the plastic bin for my son while he shoveled and hauled bags away. I had driven my chair down hill to that portion of the yard, and had a good view in to the woods, as I was sitting there at the edge of the treeline, using the moments he was hauling away bags to shoot a few photos of the woods. I love nature, and the beauty of God's earth around me. Nothing can keep me from enjoying the beauty of nature! If I was blind, I would revel in the sound of birds singing in the darkness. If I was deaf, I would take off my shoes and enjoy the leaves crunching beneath my feet. Since I see and hear, I have a camera to bring the sights and sounds to my chair. (Actually, somebody complained about that this week. Go figure! I didn't know the view was property. My mistake.)
There was a time, not too long ago, in which I would have taken a mountain bike through those woods... as in the first photo of me below. Even though I'm used to traveling at much greater speeds, like the 21 and a half miles per hour cruising speed on my road bike below, it's just not doable in my chair. It appears that I have reached the limit of my physical ability at this time in my life. But, as I sat there dreaming up all these possibilities, it occurred to me that I may never see the creek on the back of our property. Just because I can see it happening in my mind, doesn't mean it will happen. And, that is a hard pill to swallow, for a girl named Vicky, which means victorious... champion.
"If your mind can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, then you can achieve it!" -attributed to both Muhammad Ali and Jesse Jackson (And it has always been my motto.)
[Love] Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8
The photo set above reveals the story: I was riding 66 mile bike rides, running 5K's and working out at the gym 6 days a week when we met in October '09. I had the surgical accident not long after Larry and I began dating. After two corrective surgeries, we were engaged in F̶e̶b̶r̶u̶a̶r̶y̶.̶ December, before the next set of surgeries (oops! We were actually engaged on Christmas Eve! But the picture was taken in February, after surgery recovery.) By our June 26th wedding, I was recovered from the surgeries, but having residual problems that wouldn't heal. I couldn't understand why things weren't like before, but I just still didn't feel able to handle the same athletic activities. I couldn't stand well, and it hurt to walk. My arms ached at times. I would try, but couldn't handle the same as before. But, I kept trying. I'm not a quitter.
By the time we hiked Cades Cove on our honeymoon, I was glad we only did the shorter trail, because I was having a hard time. Then in August I noticed I was having a hard time with just the short walk around the lake at Tanner Park. Fort Mountain later that month was not a long hike to the top lookout, but it took me forever, and we had to keep stopping to rest. I couldn't understand why I wasn't "better." I felt like crying because I felt like something was wrong, and I couldn't understand what was causing this, and I didn't have the words to even explain it. I was "wiped out," there at the top in the photo, but Larry put his arm around me, and it was ok.
While we still lived in Rome, we would sit by the lake because I was finding it difficult to walk around the lake anymore. I was laying in his lap in that pic we took, because I was wiped out again. My legs would collapse under me at times and Larry would have to pick me up, and sometimes carry me home. Again, I can't put in words the chaos this caused in my mind... the confusion... the fear. I took our picture, and Larry had his arms around me and I could see in his face that he loved me and it was ok. I couldn't see the fear in the photo. All I could see was love... and love never fails.
Then there were more surgeries, and the wounds healed. Yet, by April I was so weak that I could barely walk across the field to sit down in the grass at Berry College, let alone make it to the trail. I wanted to fly the new Red Baron kite I had just bought with Larry, but I couldn't launch it. I was fighting back tears of confusion and fatigue. We launched it in reverse, with me holding the string while he ran with the kite and let it go sailing into the wind. It worked, and I was holding a flying kite... thanks to Larry! Then I laid down in the grass exhausted, and Larry laid down beside me smiling at me with those eyes I love so much. Nothing else mattered.
The photo on the dock in June, we made it around the lake, and I was laying on the dock at his feet wiped out again instead of swinging with him. I had to take lots of pictures of the look on his face because it said, "I love you, Vicky Hunt!" By the time we reached our first anniversary, it was impossible to hide even in photos that I stood with a weird bend/ curve. We were having to make modifications for travel, like no stairs, etc. And, I had finally been diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, a lesion in my spine that was impairing my ability to walk. In the Valentines photo at Agatha's and Underground in Atlanta, we had to have the waiter store my walker for the first time, after we sat down. But it was the first time I had been out of the house for much more than church and doctor's visits in over 7 months. I had been through daily infusions of steroids, as well. Then, on our 2nd Anniversary, I booked us a room overlooking the ocean. The second day, Larry took me out on the beach with my walker. He helped me get across the water to the sandbar... with the walker. We spent the whole next day in the room because my legs would not walk any further. So, we had pizza delivered to the room, and we were in love. Love never fails. We went to play miniature golf, and I discovered it was impossible now for me, no matter what I tried. I couldn't hold the club. Then, before we left, Larry put me in a helicopter and we flew over Panama City Beach.
Now, I use a power chair and we had to build a ramp to make the house accessible for me. Larry and Travis have taken over much of the cooking. I've been taking self-injections for a year now, and the doctor finally let me stop them a week ago. Yay! The guys planted trees and shrubs to make our place beautiful and I love to see the birds that circle our feeders. Today is our third anniversary. Yes, we're just newlyweds. Larry has been working overtime so much for a big job they have going on, and we are leaving for Texas for my older son's wedding soon. They are even working his usual vacation week this year. All this overtime makes the days seem longer, but overtime is a blessing. We are going to Callaway Gardens this weekend for our Anniversary while he has the weekend off. This evening Larry is taking me to Olive Garden for a midweek date in the meantime. Love never fails you.
When all is said and done, the longest days are as but a moment in the scheme of things when you have love. Nothing can remove your access to love. Love never fails. Love stands strong. Love is larger than any problem, lasts longer than any confusion, overcomes all obstacles, and surmounts every fear. Interests and hobbies come and go. Education and knowledge lose their value and purpose. Careers are launched and they end. Travel seems meaningless without someone to share it with. Seasons change. Memory even fades as we begin to age. But, love never fails. But then, I guess you get the picture... so I'll stop rambling :)