Saturday, September 27, 2008

“This is a Perfect Day!"

“This is a Perfect Day! I am so …!” Then he stopped and struggle for more words. He asked, “What is a better word for what I feel?”

I replied, “Happy…?”

He said, “Yah, Happy is perfect for what I feel.”

Rej struggles with his words now. At times it is worse than other times. There is a brain tumor growing in his head now. It has covered and infiltrated most of the right side of his brain – so his left side is paralyzed. His left leg still supports him but his arm will not function any longer. His speech is slow but he can communicate.

Rej shares a love with me. We carve wood together. Recently he completed his very first wood carving. His son had cartooned a snake and Rej carved it for him.

Yesterday Rej and I took his carving and some of mine to Bobcaygeon, Ontario to place them in the Kawartha Wood Carving Show. For me it was a nice drive to a great activity. For Rej it was more. It was his first drive in the country after about four years of going no where.

You see Rej has been in prison for a few years. Since coming out he has not traveled anywhere. The daily routine of maintaining his life has been about all he can do. Each afternoon he lays down to rest. The stuff going on inside of him really makes it hard to do much.

Arriving at the Wood Carving Show it was necessary to climb the stairs – about 15 of them to get to the second story of a large community center. We couldn’t find an elevator to make it up there. So the stairs were his biggest challenge of the week. But he wanted to see the carvings so badly he would tackle anything. Later on the ride home he was exhausted just from the stair climbing up and down.

You see… Rej must be thinking very carefully on every step as to how he will shift his weight and then move his good leg to the next step up or down…while feeling nothing with the other side. His good arm clutches the walking stick that he has clipped to his forearm.

As we came from the Carving Show and drove slowly along the street he sighed deeply again, “I am so happy… this is the best day of my life.” Then he exclaimed, “Look at that! That is wonderful – so beautiful.”

Ahead of us was a sunset over the water way in Bobcaygeon(photo above). It was a colour display like no other I had ever witnessed. Each of them seems better than the last however. But in front of us was perhaps the best we have witnessed for a while. This was especially true for Rej. In prison you never see a sunset. You are in your cell by 8 PM and you miss all of them for as many days as you are living there. For Rej that has been a while.

This morning as I reflect on what took place for us last evening… I am sure that God gave Rej and me that special gift together. I took photos that captured some of what we saw. Together we had savored the beauty in front of us. It was one very special moment.

Rej asked, “Do you think we can stop for coffee at Tim Hortons? I am buying.” Then he grinned. “This has been a wonderful day and coffee together would make it even better.”

I have taken so much for granted… so very much. What passes me by quickly – or what I pass by quickly is a treasure for Rej…in fact every moment of every day is a treasure to Rej.

Last evening Rej’s parting comment was, “I can’t wait to see if I win a Ribbon…”

Today I am out to find more treasure as we say Good Bye to a 101 year old “Grand Old Lady of the Church”, Wenonah Barnes. Then I will travel to see our treasured wood carvings…and maybe pick up a Ribbon for Rej…maybe…?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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