To the great relief of my faithful reader, and the one or two others in the world who occasionally eyeball this corner of the blogosphere, I have been pretty quiet on the writing front this April. That doesn't mean that it's been "All Quiet on the Western Front" however. There have been a few rides following the excellent outing in Dothan on the first weekend of the month. There were some rain cancellations and also some schedule conflicts too. A nice metric in Eastern Montgomery and some pleasant local rides too including last Sunday's relaxer ride to Riverfront park.
This month is the 2nd anniversary of our deeper involvement with cancer advocacy. It was in April 2010 that a friend of ours (of our son originally, but she became dear to all of us) passed away. That Spring, as part of our show of support, Sharon volunteered to captain our church Relay For Life (http://www.relayforlife.org/) team. As a handy source of physical labor, I was drafted on that team as well. I caught the fever too though and we have co-captained since, although her name leads our masthead. There are some organizing meetings, some fundraising, and the logistics of the actual event. This year it was on Friday the 27th. Sharon's ability to participate is severely restricted now due to degenerated knees (rheumatoid arthritis - a knee replacement is on her event horizon) and a pre-op physical therapy mishap which has left her back in heavy pain. Our son Alex met me after work and helped haul tables and chairs to the park venue, and I handled the provender of snacks and bottled water. By the time we knocked off and packed it all back up, it was well past my bedtime.I had carefully arranged for our site (#7!) to be 180 degrees away from the band-shell with its DeeJay and blaring speakers. Unfortunately, a new wrinkle this year was an inflatable projection screen right next to us. It had some kind of dance video game. And THOUSANDS of gyrating pre teens and teens grooving to awful music. Maybe it was only hundreds. I don't know.
Life is hard because we live in a fallen world. I understand this through my faith in God and reading of scripture, but this observation is not limited to those of a theological inclination. While some ask if we all just can't get along, human nature is not disposed in that way. Just look at war and rumors of wars, tolerance of poverty and injustice and etc. Neil Degrasse Tyson writes this positive thinking, "I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you." The problem is, very few people actually DO this, although lots of people pay lip service to the idea. His motivation is 100% temporal, but doing good is always commendable.
Diseases are part and parcel elements of our human estate. This is what makes the idea of a Heaven so pleasant as an alternative. A favorite shape note hymn of mine is 'This World is Not My Home" and that is how I really feel. My citizenship is in heaven because of what God has done for me. While I am a visitor here, however, it is incumbent on me to "do justice, love mercy and walk humbly." Part of that is developing a sense of shared burden for my sick friends. Both those who are my brothers and sisters through our shared faith, and those in the world at large. There are many ways to be involved, more than any of us can fully do, but we can each pick something and do it. Sharon leads our cancer support effort and I still campaign for multiple sclerosis. (This year will be my 10th) I continue to hold up my dear sisters in Christ LaNiece, Allison and Dove up in prayer as each fights a different battle with her own illness. We were sad to bid goodbye to Pat who went to be with the Lord last week but we know she is delighted with her new surroundings and no longer struggling and in pain.
I missed the Tour Autaugua yesterday. It's a Lance Armstrong - Livestrong fund raiser type event. I hear turnout was good, but a church workday from last week was rescheduled for yesterday. It was good to spend a couple of hours with some great guys, even if the work was hot and hard. I learned from an old country boy how to use a 20 lb chopping/digging bar to take low growth off trees and shrubs. I got back home before lunch and picked up some Mellow Mushroom for Sharon (pizza) and I (tempeh hoagie). We enjoyed it out on the porch looking at our garden which still brings us much pleasure. Highlight of the day: She agreed that I could box up some stuff which had piled up in the living room, but which we would not need for some time to come! Less mess = less stress for me as a rule. Then I did our yard and assembled our new pressure washer to give it a trial run on the porch and driveway. It was handy to be around the house so that if my help was needed, I was available for "gimpy" who was camped out on the couch watching the Yankees lose to Detroit. I did get a couple of lazy loops through the neighborhood late in the day. It was just as great as a longer ride would have been. I just love to ride.
Our big fun was just after I went to bed last night. Sharon called to me from the living room. She could not get up from the couch due to her back. The 3 Stooges could not have been more inept than we were trying to get her upright without causing more pain. It was also hard to not laugh, which also hurt her, but she laughed anyway. She went from the couch to the floor, to several kneeling and sitting positions. I brought ice, tried to lift (Ouch! stop that!), brought a pain pill, moved furniture, etc. Finally after about 45 minutes, she just did it, using a chair arm to pull on. I'm taking her to the doctor on Monday if she is not much better by the end of today! I've had a pulled back muscle before and it CAN be debilitating, but this is awful.
If I can trust her to NOT reach for things she should leave alone, and NOT over extend the limits she has right now, then I'll enjoy a Sunday relaxer ride this afternoon. We'll see.