Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Gift of Your Presence

Back to my blog home page:

I had the pleasure of returning to wine country last weekend to visit several sets of friends that I made during my last assignment. Some of the visits were planned, and others spontaneous.

It really spoke to my spirit as I drove past my old place, along my daily walk to work, and then, to the facility in which I greatly enjoyed working!

I planned to catch Monty and Joan just before dinner. When I walked in and greeted my old rehab director, he told me that "Mont" was out of town. My disappointment could not be masked!

BJ walked throughout the facility with me, pointing out changes in the three months since I have been gone. We walked down one hall, and I knew there was a room in which I would need to poke my head.

"Brendon!" I called out.

"Tre?...Tre!!"  The only part of him that could turn was his head. He is quadriplegic, shot in the spine half his life ago as he walked home from middle school on the streets of a large city in northern California.

Brendon and I spent a lot of time together. We identified his desire to get his GED. We figured out that he could use Dragon software to run a computer with his voice. I nominated him for a special trip to visit with his mom through Granted Wish Foundation (though they did not grant the wish, it gave us hope for a while!)
We practiced driving his sip and puff wheelchair, a motor wheelchair that is run by using breathwork. Sipping and puffing command the chair to drive forward, backward, turn, tilt and recline. You do it all with the straw, see?

We only spent a few minutes together, but I had to let him know that I think of him often, and I wish the best for him.

I turned to go, and I glanced over at his closet door. Taped on the door was an 8 x 10 photo of the two of us that we had taken when I nominated him for Granted Wish. (He hadn't known at the time we took the photo!) Under the photo, I had written,

You are never given a wish
without also being given the power
to make it come true.
Richard Bach, Illusions

"Brendan, you still have our photo!" I was so surprised!

"Of course, Tre, I will never forget you."

I turned to him.  "And I, you, my friend."

With that, we parted. I left his room feeling that I had just received a beautiful gift. What I hadn't realized until I saw our photo is that I had been a gift to him as well.

It brought tears to my eyes.

My message today is this: 

we never know how we impact people
with whom we may spend
a minute,
an hour,
a day,
a month,
a year.
The challenge
is to leave each and every person
feeling as if they have received a gift.

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