Last week my daughter and I took my two-year-old granddaughter Mia to an indoor super playground for kids called Jumpin’ n Jammin’. I’d planned to sit and watch Mia enjoy all the amazing twisty-turny tubular slides, toy airplanes hanging from the ceiling, and life-size climbing toys, but she wanted “Gramsey” to play too. Unable to resist, I crawled into a huge multi-colored inflatable jumper with Mia and my daughter. It was like being on a large trampoline, only a lot more fun. I soared and hopped and bounced — then, breathless, stopped to watch Mia and my daughter bounce and soar through the air like kangaroos. I held on to one of the inflatable corner “pillars” for a few minutes to soak in the joy of the moment — Mia’s squeals and giggles as she bounded higher and higher, my daughter’s playful antics as she entertained Mia with wobbles and bobbles, their voices blending together like music. (If mother-daughter love has a sound, I think that’s what it would be.)
I don’t think about my Parkinson’s diagnosis very often — at least, I don’t dwell on it — but as I bounced around with my granddaughter in the inflatable jumper, it struck me that in the not too distant future, I will be unable to jump and soar and hop with Mia or her little siblings that will surely follow. It made those few minutes even more precious. As I drove home that day, I reflected on other areas of my life that will someday be acutely affected by the disease — the walks I enjoy every morning, playing the piano, typing (a necessity for an author), photography . . . and the list goes on. Before I knew it I had worked myself into an award-winning pity party.
I had to stop (not literally — I was on the freeway!) and reassess what makes life precious. Is it only the physical movement I now enjoy? Or is it something deeper? When it comes to time with either of my daughters or my granddaughter, it’s just being with them that gives me the greatest joy. Yes, hopping around in the inflatable jumper was fun. But holding Mia after she fell asleep at lunch that day, planting a kiss on that sweet forehead, listening to her sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat after we were back in the car — those moments were even more precious. Unforgettable. And doable in my future.
It seems to me that when faced with a life-changing diagnosis — whether Parkinson’s or cancer — I have a choice. I can fret over what may come in the future. Or I can take delight in the gift of this day, this hour, this moment in time. I can dream those dreams about books I have yet to write; I can take delight in spending time with good friends, “Jeepin” through the desert with my adventurous hubby, and enjoying hot political debates with other rabelrousers. Life is full of wonder! If I’m so busy worrying about tomorrow, I’ll miss out on the wonders of today — treasured moments with my husband or friends, good books to read — or write (!), keeping in touch with the special people in my life with phone calls, letters, and e-mail.
My husband once bought me a license plate holder that stated: So Many Stories, So Little Time. We didn’t know then what we know now about my health. But shouldn’t we all feel that way about doing those things we love each day? Being with those people we love — or touching lives with a phone call or note — as if it’s the last time we can?
Can I trust God with my tomorrows? A dear minister, Pastor Earl Lee, years ago preached annually on Psalm 37. He called it the Cycle of Victorious Living. It’s remained one of my favorite passages of Scripture to this day:
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on his faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And he shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in him,
And he shall bring it to pass.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.
Do not fret . . .
Psalm 37:3-5, 7 NKJV
Trust, delight, commit, and rest . . . and do not fret. Never have these words held greater meaning and comfort. No matter my tomorrows, no matter what challenges lie ahead, his grace is sufficient. And I can rest in that promise.