Pruned

Ever feel like your life’s been pruned with a lightsaber?

Roses only ever grow on new wood. You want them to grow, to have a lot of roses over a season, you have to be diligent to cut the stems back. The stimulation of pruning the rose bush will trigger new growth. Doing this as often as necessary can be a big benefit. When the season is over, sometimes the best thing you can do for a plant to stimulate the best growth is to cut it all the way back to the stump.  Ever felt like it was you?

Health

In many ways, I have been personally and physically, pruned back to the bone. When GBS affects your nervous system, it destroys some or it can be much of the myelin sheath that protects the nerves. I like the analogy of stripping the protective layer over electrical wires, except this is like stripping the wires on the electrical in a whole house, and the house is my actual body. What this does is disrupt the signals from the brain that control arms and legs, in my case it nearly took my lung function, my ability to swallow. I was virtually locked in for some time. 

Once the initial trip down goes, and how far, which has something to say about how temporarily disabled you become, and for how long, your body starts to put the pieces back together, to regenerate? I believe In a way I was getting cut back to the nub. My body and my mind would then begin the process of rebuilding, and extending our branches to the sun. Only what’s most important could, or would, survive. Sometimes you have to prune the rose bush with a lawnmower. I’ve kept my family intact, for which I’m blessed and extremely thankful. 

My house that was too far from my job, creating large commutes, is gone. I could never have gotten my wheelchair even into it without a major update, even if we had managed to keep it. Prune. It’s a blessing to be rid of it.

My car is gone. We were a single car family of four, which caused enough tension. It wasn’t a choice, but a necessity. Had to get me home though, and that took a ramp van. One GoFundMe later, while I was still in the hospital, in addition to what Carmax would give Amanda for the Element (a car I’d certainly never get back into like this) and poof, a used ramp van could be purchased. Prune. Another loss becomes a blessing. 

My job was gone. They took such great care of me, supporting me and my family throughout my hospital time. My insurance was good. I had some of the best, and a little of the worst care while in the hospital, but I’m proof that short-term disability works and long-term does as well. Buy into them if they are ever offered to you. It was too far to commute each day, and I actually got to feel what working as a programmer was like when all the new younger hot-shots were in charge, and frankly way better than I ever was at it, and I felt like I was slowly being put on the shelf. Prune. It’s a blessing. After ten years with the company, I could no longer physically do the job. In my mind I can still do some programming though I’m seriously out of practice, besides, getting to and from a bathroom is still trouble on its own there, even still, a blessing. Mobility is my biggest issue. I think it was about time to limit my programming time anyway, I wanted to concentrate on fiction anyway, so it’s a blessing there again. 

Then my body. It’s time to get it together. For years I have been overweight, carrying too much around with me all the time. I lost a hundred pounds walking my way to fitness around Piedmont Park before succumbing to GBS. Now I’ve got all the time, but not the ability to stand or really hold weights. I’ll have to start over without the strength to even turn myself over. Pruned. This time I see other blessings, because the prospect of starting over as a baby with next to zero strength and a three hundred pound body to start off with doesn’t thrill me. However I am now located in South Georgia, far from anything I consider actual ‘traffic,’ coming from Atlanta, my kids are in a great school, and they are getting to know their grandparents in a way I never thought they would. Prune. Now I just gotta get up, and get moving, get the strength back in my hands, so I can get this body the rest of the way under control, at least as well as I can. Physically, I don’t know how much better I’ll get, but the prognosis is good, or at least positive. 

It’s hard to see that far. I have to trust that it’s all for the best and that I’ll make it as far as I’m supposed to go. I still want to walk a Disney Star Wars 5k. That’s another story. 

I feel like I’ve been pruned with a lightsaber.

Reading 

When I talk about reading, I include audiobooks and ebooks as equal partners. I consider either to be equal for me. an ebook, I can scroll or click through with my stylus. An audiobook, well you can listen to it. I’ve found that my mind goes through the same process when I do either. I’ll probably write a whole blog about reading a physical book once I can physically pick one up and have the dexterity to turn the pages. This week, I’m working my way through T.D. Jakes’s Crushing. I was not seeing it, trying to figure out how to apply it to my life when he gets to this part about pruning. It’s about how many times in life you are pruned back so that the better parts of you can shine. I had been wondering (fretting?) over how I can make the most of the sickness that I have endured, and how I’m going to come through it on the other side better for it. Not too long ago, I was doing a Physical Therapy session  where I sat on the edge of the bed for about thirty minutes, and in that time I ’pushed’ against the floor with a large kind of a table topped walker and leaned left and right just side and bring my trunk back up. My body has lost so much muscle tone that I feel like a sack of jelly some time. 

But I was pushing against that floor, with a strength that I haven’t had for over three years. It’s time for things pruned to grow back, stronger and better than ever. I’ve been cultivating my writing ability as much as I can. My body is about to get ready to be mobile once more. I don’t know if it’s going to be a week or a month or a year before I’m up again, but for the first time in a long time, I feel like it’s actually going to happen. I damn near got my butt off the bed enough to shift a tiny bit and scare myself. Would I slip off? Would my PT and wife need to catch me before I slid off and crumpled into the floor?

I didn’t care. I pushed harder, I’m getting back up, I could feel the strength coming back into my body again. Bring it on. I’ll slip off the bed if I need to. I’m getting up soon. 

It’s almost as if the book started talking directly to me after I picked it up again after dropping it for a while. I was wondering if there was anything in there that would speak to me, and then it hit me. I’ve been pruned. It’s time to grow back.

I’ve been thinking; if you as an avid reader had been prevented from being able to handle a book for over three years, and you finally regained the strength to do so, would you read something new or pick something familiar to re-read? If so, what would it be?

Cinema

Speaking of lightsabers, recently the Star Wars the Rise of Skywalker folks premiered their latest trailer at d23, yeah I know that was a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been wondering a lot about this, quietly pondering it, and one thing that Luke says not once, but twice in The Last Jedi, “Everything you just said was wrong,” keeps coming back to me. Remember that, as you watch the trailer again, and as you devour YouTube trailer breakdowns of it…

People keep saying the scene with a possible dark Rey is likely a vision, but what if Rey is actually a secret agent (maybe unknowingly?) of the Sith, and Kylo (Ben Solo!) is the Jedi so deep undercover that he has lost himself to the dark side temporarily. Everybody keeps mentioning, and Snoke repeats, that when a great Sith comes to power, the light will rise to meet him, but what if he’s got it backwards this time? What if Kylo’s the bright light, and Rey’s the natural Sith rising to meet him? I just think that in the end they will meet each other in the middle instead of someone winning, and join forces, maybe against whatever’s left of the Emperor, and then be together forever. There, I called it, #reylo forever for the win. 

It’s time for a crap-load of little force using babies. Maybe not Jedi or Sith anymore, but more balanced Skywalkers instead?