“Someone is sitting in the shade today, because someone planted a tree along time ago.” Warren Buffet
Stepping Into A New Life
After retiring from teaching, I finally had something I never had before—time. Time for a second cup of coffee, time to read new books, time to spend with loved ones, and time to develop new talents. The world was now my oyster. In an average lifespan, the heart beats 2.5 billion times. What was my heart beating for? I started a blog, a book club and joined Toastmasters. To be fulfilled, I had to have outlets Physically, Mentally and Socially–a new PMS without the emotional baggage.
I stepped through multiple doors of opportunity to see which ones would be the best fit for my personality and talents. The first one was Adaptive Adventures, an organization that provides an opportunity for a handicapped person to downhill ski with an able-bodied person. I peered into the sad eyes of a twenty-five year old tall man with a handsome ruddy complexion and a strong desire to communicate. “Five years ago,” Bob said, “I was in a snowmobile accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down. A few years after the accident, I lost my mother.” My eyes filled with tears as he continued to share. “You know what I miss the most,” he said, “It’s the adrenaline rush. That’s why I am here today at Wilmot Mountain, so I can use a sit-ski and ski down a mountain, again.” The following week my husband and I helped Bob fulfill his dream. He learned how to navigate a sit-ski. By the end of the day, it all clicked for him as he triumphantly cruised down maneuvering beautiful turns all the way to the lodge where he shouted for joy. “I forgot I was paralyzed.” He was ecstatic about experiencing a once unattainable dream—–an adrenaline rush!
Later that winter, I was assigned to ski with, Mary, a blind girl. Fortunately, she was not totally blind and could see shadows. We immediately bonded going up the ski lift by talking about books she was reading in her English classes and boys she liked. When we finished the day with many successful runs, a young boy about ten-years old came up to me and said, “ Can I shake your hand ?” While extending my hand, he said, “Thanks for helping that blind girl ski today.” I was so touched by his heart for Mary–a seeing boy wanting to reach out to a blind girl. “Wouldn’t you want someone to help you if you were visually impaired?” “Yes,” he said. “ “You can make a difference in this world.” He smiled thoughtfully as we parted.
Music was the next door to open. My husband, Larry, had knee surgery. While he was sleeping, I ventured out of the room to the newly renovated main lobby of Good Shepherd Hospital where I saw a grand piano. I removed the cover and started playing to the amazement of the staff who had never heard the piano played. Soon I began volunteering every Thursday. I told my book club friend, Renee, about volunteering and now she and her 90 year old mother play duets on Tuesdays. One patient remarked, “This is suppose to be a place to feel nervous and sad, but you have made it a place of joy.” Another patient before she entered the hospital greatly missed her deceased husband, and was asking God to help comfort her in her grief. As she entered the lobby, I was playing their favorite song, Moon River. She asked the staff member, “Who’s playing the piano?” I joined them at the front desk as we tearfully hugged one another—witnessing an answer to her prayer.
These experiences plus many more have helped me discover the NEW ME. The author Leo Buscaglia once said, “God’s gift to you is your talent. What you do with your talent is your gift back to God.” I continue to strive to inspire the next generation and to bless the current one.