Monday, October 15, 2012

On Retreat: Notes from the Journey

Pilgrim Feet

Dear Readers,

This may be another of those weeks in which I promise to be quiet, and then end up posting a stream of statements here--because I am not good at holding my tongue.  I do want to let you know, though, that Steve and I are away for a period of recollection.  This is the week that we met 41 years ago, and we've chosen to spend it trying to wind down a bit from daily routines, to walk, listen to music, read, talk, and pray.

And we're away from home to accomplish those goals.  I'm deliberately trying not to read or comment on the news.  I may, however, be commenting on some of the books I'm reading this week--unless I decide I'm being a grand bore in doing so.

A report from our flight yesterday: one of the flight attendants, a woman I immediately and instinctively liked, announces before the flight takes off that she and the rest of the flight crew will be taking up a collection for breast cancer research.  And then she tells us, "Two years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and so I have a special concern for this cause.  I did have to sacrifice my tatas, but am doing well otherwise.  And I want to see other women struggling with this illness receiving support and good medical treatment, and that's why we're taking up this collection."

And so that's what she and the other attendants did as the plane got off the ground: passed down the aisles asking for contributions.  After the collecting was finished, she got on the loudspeaker again and said, "Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen.  We've just raised $505.00 for breast cancer research. [She named the foundation to which the money will be donated.]

And I'd like now to answer two questions passengers asked me as I collected the donations.  To the gentleman who asked if I were taking this money up to buy new and improved prosthetics for myself: no.

To the gentleman who asked if he might lay hands on me and pray that I be cured, I'm grateful, but want you to know I'm doing spiritually well and have managed to live through the experience of having cancer precisely because of my faith.  So thanks for your concern, but . . . ."

There are times I'm just so dismally ashamed of what we American people, some of us, have made of ourselves.  And God bless this woman who dared to share her personal story from the depths yesterday to benefit others, probably knowing as she did so that there would be "gentlemen" aboard the plane who'd respond as inhumanely and atrociously as the two gents cited above did.

Since this is how many "gentlemen" choose to respond to women and women's health challenges, sad to say.

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