>One Hand Clapping

>Last night I did some more reading in Anne Lamott’s book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. Two of her essays really blessed me. One was about her teenage son, Sam. She writes about Sam a lot… maybe I’ll share some of that another time. Her essay, “One Hand Clapping,” is what really got my attention yesterday.

It’s about a woman in her church (just outside San Francisco) who had only a stump for one of her hands. Her mother had worked as a chemist for the military during WWII… helping develop chemical weapons. She was one of a number of children of these workers who were born with birth defects from their mothers’ exposure to the chemicals. But Lamotte tells the story about this courageous woman (who later lost a battle with breast cancer) who fought for the poor and other causes dear to her heart. She was limited in what she could do, physically, but not in the way she could touch people’s hearts.

The same day I read this essay, I watched an ad on TV during the football games, about a woman athlete who lost a leg. It showed her running with a prosthesis. She swung her hip out awkwardly as she ran. But she ran.

As I attempt to do more things for myself around the house, without putting any weight on my left foot, I’m learning lots of lessons. The body needs all its parts to function smoothly. When other parts are called on to pick up slack for a broken part, it hurts. My other foot hurts. My knees hurts. My hips hurt. My wrists hurt, from supporting my weight on the walker. My arthritis is flaring up big time.

Things I took for granted come at me in endless details. Pay a bill? No problem. Let’s see, the checkbook is in that room. The stamps are in there. The envelopes are in there. And I need to get on the computer (in there) to check on something first. All that for just one little job. Now I’m carrying a backpack around on my walker, taking stuff from room to room. I’ve never stayed inside my house for six straight days in my life. Before my surgery I was asking the doctor, “how soon can I drive?” Now I’m not a bit interested in driving. Just in figuring out how to get the milk and cereal to the table.

All this to say that limitations change your perspective on things. On how often the cat’s litter box has to be raked. Or how much it matters if the afghan is folded neatly on the couch. Or if clutter accumulates because it’s exhausting to move from room to room.

Sitting here looking at my cast, I read Katherine’s words again, “Be still and take care of you!”

Be still.

This morning I was still. If you call writing being still. I was still physically… but four pages of notes and outlines for a memoir came pouring out. Maybe the genesis of a book of essays with a related theme. Thankful for having two good hands to type these words with. Trying to imagine the sound of one hand clapping…. I can only hear the sound of one foot walking: thump, thump, slide; thump, thump, slide.

After a morning of (relative) stillness, several wonderful groups of visitors arrived. Sue and Sarah brought us lunch… and Sarah did this marvelous cast art creation. This rose is so awesome I’m not going to want the folks at Campbell Clinic to cut it off. Well….

Later Reem brought delicious chicken over for our dinner tonight (which we just ate and yum!) …and brought Sophie with her. Here’s Sophie (almost 5) doing her cast art… a pretty flower and her name… while Oreo and I watch. It’s so narcissistic having people sit at your feet and draw pictures on your cast while I take photos. Or in this case, Sarah took photos.

Around 5 pm Kathy came by for a glass of wine and a visit.

At 7 pm hubby arrived home with groceries. Yes. Now I know how old people feel, watching all the young people buzzying around them quickly. I can’t do anything quickly right now. Well, except type. Back to those essays!

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