giving & receiving

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that is me & my good dog.  on one of our last trips to our favorite parks.  i wasn’t driving here ;).  & well, since going severe with ME, i can no longer drive.

so today i am giving my car away to someone who needs one.  an acquaintance from my city days.  a woman with beautiful spirt & big heart.  in a nice twist, we bought our city home from her sister.  who was moving to the same neighborhood i now live in.

i could write pages (if i had the lucidity & energy) about giving.  from my early memory of an easter egg hunt, with me giving away my plastic treat filled easter eggs to kids who had none (i was agile & fast – my basket was filled), through wanting to pick a career that was in service to others.  then of course, all of my years in hamtramck.  some day i have to write about that.  if i can.  it was an experience few people have.  living in a densely populated place with people from all over the world (25 languages spoken in 2.2 sq miles, 50 houses on my street with people from at least 10 different countries), means a sense of community that was just beautiful to be part of.

giving & receiving was just part of daily life there.  we shared everything.  we helped each other constantly.  i would love to richly detail these experiences but could not do them justice.  so many nights we shared conversations & food & drink on our front porches.  (i learned to say no to multiple turkish coffees at 9pm…  sometimes it was hard to tell how to navigate politeness with the language barrier.)   whenever anyone needed help – there was someone there to help them.  as i write this, so many images & memories come flooding back to me.  how lucky i was to be part of this.

i was so fortunate to be able to give as much as i did, even now knowing i had ME.  i could create my own schedule.  & thus do so much informally.  though i also was active in more formal ways.   & sometimes it meant that i became guardian of some of the old & sick who had no one.  or giving living space to someone homeless.  we all did this.  these informal bonds were richly textured.  & blessed.  so blessed.

being now as sick as i am, i am the one receiving.  i can tell you it is so much harder.  & i now i understand why the people i helped always had to give me things.  one year i think i got fruitcakes from every imaginable ethnic group.  there is a humbleness …  i am so grateful for everyone who has made it possible for me to still.. somehow.. keep doing this..

the autumn before i went severe, i was walking trixie & came upon a man & his granddaughter drawing a city in chalk on the sidewalk.  i knew immediately that my cherished childhood train set should be theirs.
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they were so excited.  i can cry just thinking about it.

my first summer severe, one of my dear friends tried heroically to help me when i first collapsed.  she had her own family & challenges to tend to.  i was so glad i could give her my treasured mountain bike so that her son could use  it.  (that is me a few years ago…)
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last year, on this day..actually.. the woman who had been doing energy work with me suddenly showed up with her husband:
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& i sat there & cried.  & when they left, the man who does my gutters, came to the door.  i was in the wheelchair. he wondered what had happened.  i told him.  then we both cried.  & he prayed with me.  a week later i got my check back in the mail from him – saying it was his gift…

& as i just wrote that, i got a text..from an angel.  my sweet friend who cooked for me all of last year… just wrote:
“hi, ellen.  i’m finally settled in & happy to be home.  if you need me to, i can start cooking for you again.  Hugs!”

so. i’m crying. again.  i texted her & said God sent her. & she texted back: “yippee! i love cooking for you!”

& now, my old friend mike just walked in to take trixie for a walk.

blessed…so blessed……..

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