My sister Libby's leg hurts. She's not a complainer, so it must really hurt. And her shoulder blade is cramping.
I laid in bed after morning prayers, pondering her pains and I had a moment of stinging understanding.
For the last number of years Lib hasn't really had to think much about exercise because her daily routine involved considerable weight lifting and aerobic motion. She lifted our mom and moved her and bathed her and entertained her every day and every night.
"Give me a hug", she'd tell our mom, and our mother's arms would go up around her neck and her fingers would lock into each other back there under Libby's thick sable hair. Lib's arms, at the same time, would work their way around Mom's ribs , her knees bent and positioned as if they were embracing Mom's knees, her back curled over Mom who sat looking up at her from her leather recliner. Lib braced, tightened her belly, sent her energy to her legs, pulled with her arms and hefted Mom into her wheel chair with a graceful half circle of a move. Then off they went, the wheels of Gram's chair rolling against the maple floor of the family room, up over the ridge of the garage door and down the ramp. Down Summerwood Road on a Springtime walk, stopping every twenty feet for a five minute conversation with neighbors. Or up to the passenger door of the van, repeating the same dance of devotion, Lib driving Mom up Route 89 then right at the canyon and up over Trapper's Loop, Mom's beloved Tabernacle Choir CD's making a soundtrack to the scenery. When Mom was alive Libby moved for two people, assisted by small black wheels now and again. Blessed wheels.
My mom's sister, when moving became difficult for her, refused to use a wheel chair. Instead she sat at home. Though our mom had her share of personal pride, she did not allow her infirmities and limitations to keep her from participating in this life. She said she had fought hard to be a part of this world, eons ago, and she wasn't about to let arthritic legs keep her from participating in it. She didn't love that she needed wheels, but she was grateful for them, and for Libby's good strong arms. Lib could flex her arms and legs and muscles would pop out like a body builder. She earned those muscles; earned them without thinking about making them. They were a fortunate consequence of her love.
Now Libby's leg hurts. Her muscles only work for one. I think they are sad.
I found these pictures today. When this blasted eternal winter finally ends we should put those wheels back to use, Sister!
(Can you hear those boys' laughter through this photo? We could build our laughter muscles, too!)