"I Can. I Will. I Must."
Hope you find some inspiration in the struggle our Olympic athletes endure for their minutes - or perhaps, seconds - to bring Glory not only to themselves, their country, NO, to The World, to Humanity! Because every athlete has a story. Every athlete has been told he or she was not good enough, not fast enough, not strong enough, not courageous enough: didn't have what it took…just like Life isn't it? Maybe a person doesn't say it, maybe Life just keeps knocking you down and the worst possible thing in the world happens: You start thinking - then saying - then believing - these things about yourself.
That happened to us this year. The pigs and me.
I was a short-track speed skater training with a Special Olympics coach with aspirations of someday perhaps, perhaps…that first winter, someone I loved dearly passed away and the ice was where my tears fell, froze, I skated away from them, then back around the rink I skated over them as new ones fell. It's how I got over that particular loss. Sports, wilderness, wildlife and animal rescue, friendship, art…there's no one "magic Bullet" it Takes A Village to endure what Life throws at us. But on the ice man, there's a rhythm, a flow…you catch it and have to be SO In The Moment nothing else exists. Or you fall. Same with cleaning out 6 guinea pig cages late at night when you know you don't have the energy so you listen to kd lang or Rufus Wainwright singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and instead of face planting in the middle of pig poo, everyone wheeks with joy and a clean cage full of fresh hay. YOU GET THROUGH IT. We always did. Then hit the ice, the slopes, the sea…smell the salty breeze of rain coming in from the West, or the icy wind of an Arctic Windstorm bringing in snowy owls, yeah, that was life less than two years ago.
And it was Good. We lost pigs. You do in an animal rescue because they don't often enter with solid, healthy bodies but they come with open hearts every darn one of them.
And even the pain of grief, there would be snow to cry on if not ice…or rain…and another pig to rescue, another night to hear "Hallelujah" another hike on Mt. Baker with ravens to see God's pinkish alpenGLOW above 5,000 feet and know: It is Good!
We lost that. Somehow, slowly at first still in Bellingham and then moving to Seattle…at first I did know "I can. I will. I must."
Yet, I didn't. The Piggies still do. They wrote a letter to our favorite magazine editor, Alison Byford, of Guinea Pig Magazine about life, they just wanted her to know how much the magazine means to guinea pigs and those of us who love them and those of us who will love them…and they didn't know it but there was a Letter Writing Contest and they won it! Their letter will be featured in the next issue of Guinea Pig Magazine, now published internationally online and in hard copy, and they'll ALSO receive a big bag of special pellets from across that big Pond!
Before we move.
Weighed in at 105 lbs. today, can barely stand, eat, sleep…don't know positively if all the paperwork will be ready in too short a time for us to move into our new apartment although miracles have been happening and we have no reason to believe they will stop now…
I haven't owned a T.V. in countless years. POI just walked into the last Olympics since they were right across the border from Bellingham, before we moved here. We aren't really paying much attention except to long-track speed skater Shani Davis hoping he wins his third Gold Medal, setting an Olympic record. He got told HE COULDN'T. So, he DID IT! Twice, maybe three times? GO, Shani, GO!
We actually skated with short-track Olympian J. R. Celski when he was still a little boy on the same ice Apolo Anton Ohno first trained on when HE was still a kid, and we've met them both - well, POI has not only met them but hung out with them, Ohno autographed POI's skates, and they had a good time.
POI has been noble. His caregiving has been Olympic Gold. We don't talk anymore about "feelings" because as I grow sicker in a place that feels like we got thrown in a garbage can last May there's nothing to say.
Breathe In. Breathe Out. Then do it again. Be in the moment. In. Then out. Just Breathe.
POI will care - as he has been - for the piggies until I get my strength back since Peter-Peanut has two heart conditions which are responding beautifully to the three medications he must take for the rest of his life. I dream of us having a place where we smell rain, feel incoming storms, with enough space for the piggies to dominate the floor like we hope Shani will on ice.
What's changed from all this? Well, things seem impossible right now, I've been struggling with keeping my spirits. Because no matter how hard we try, Life has a Life of its own and I no longer see a Gold Medal snowshoeing Mt. Rainier's breathtaking glacial flanks…we don't even want to use the word "breathtaking" anymore…
"God can. God will. God must." I did my best. From this moment on, I will live this Thin Line the way we used to train, as an adventure! An adventure in Faith: It's the only Hallelujah left.
Thanks all of you who care so much for us. We are grateful...you give us that little extra "Umph!" to keep fighting. Because we are really tired, man. And face-planting into a pile of pig poo might be the funniest, most healing thing that could possibly happen at this point: Hallelujah!