My wife Elaine was immobilized for three weeks with a serious flu. Totally debilitated for 3 weeks with joint and muscle aches; sweats and chills, dizziness, weakness and nausea. After a week, when she became disoriented and fell down, I took her to the ER where they gave her antibiotics but it still took another week before she improved.
Elaine had never been this sick before, and I never had to take care of her, 24/7. I loved the personal caring part but managing the house brought me to a more loving appreciation of what that job requires.
I always knew there was a light at the end of this tunnel, there would be an end to this illness. However it caused me to reflect on those illnesses that are unending or terminal, what would that be like?
The most important awakening for both of us was the profundity of this wake-up call. Sudden illness/incapacity can strike in a moment and we must do today what we may not be able to do tomorrow. So in 2 weeks we’re going to Hawaii to spend time with our children.
After Elaine recovered I knew I needed to get away. It’d been two years since I’d slept under the stars. I left on the weekend of the Spring Solstice, which also happened to be the night when the moon was closest to the earth, and wouldn’t look this big again for another 18 years. Sleeping under the stars looking at that big moon without the contamination of city lights, excited me.
I was going to an obscure fly-fishing only stream on the Mogollon Rim. Unfortunately the spring runoff made the dirt road impassable. I camped at 7,000 feet on a very cold night. I thought I’d collected enough wood for half the night, built the fire and sat entranced by the fire dance and the big moonrise.
The wood didn’t last half the night (not even a quarter), and as the flames dwindled I cuddled closer to the coals. As I spread the coals out in front of me, they revealed a dazzling kaleidoscopic display of changing faces. I heard the ancient prophets sing from The Book of Psalms, Zeh HaYom Ahsah Hashem (This Is The Day The Creator Has Made).
I got up, chanted and danced in the moonlight… thank you for this day; thank you for this big moon night… I am fully here today even if I never see you this way again.
This is the day the creator has made, do what you love while you still can and say thank you for something every day.