|Essay from January 2010
The word "care" had been batted around a great deal lately. Let me take part in the action.|
For two weeks now I have been in a rehabilitation facility, following serious surgery on my spine. The therapists who work here are not kidding around. They want me and all their patients to improve enough to get out of here. They work very hard. They are often out of breath and must stop for air. They make us work hard too, one therapist after another. It really is exhausting!
But I notice it is all care, i.e. caring. Never a harsh word, always an encouraging word. The old word that I come up with to describe what they do is "love."
Jay Evans was here yesterday. At one point I exclaimed, "It's amazing! You can make your living loving people!" Jay jumped up and made a placard which said that, which he then hung on the wall.
The theme in my mind is "care." Care is caring. I am watching so much of it, I am overwhelmed. Not "coverage." That's a different topic. We all talk of health care. Some talk of health coverage. But that's not what I'm looking at. Care is caring. Coverage is legalese, and look out!
I'm not sure this even is a rant. "Rant" implies a degree of indignation, and what I'm referring to now is a series of experiences which leaves me in a kind of melt-down. Absorb the love. Return it. Not much in the way of indignation.
This experience makes a body thoughtful. It "concentrates the mind." I think of my whole life, and it occurs to me that for a period I made my living loving people. The ten years that I taught school are what I'm thinking of. The students came first with me, and everybody knew it, and at times it caused trouble, what with institutional rules and traditions and reputations and all that. But the students knew.
I'm wondering what a country more concerned about care than coverage would look like.
A Postscript from Zelda
Amador Publishers' friends and fans and regular readers of Harry's Rant of the Month will note from the above that December was a hard month here on the home front. January's shaping up to be a tough one too. But the love will get us through.
I dial a number that changes from time to time and himself picks up and declares, "Harry Willson speaking." I'm the student who's still trying to graduate and he's still coaxing me along, with love. When he's out of answers, or out of gas, he tells me, "You'll have to figure that out, honey." And because he taught me well, I do.
We drop in at rehab. No Harry. He is at PT, Adela at his side. We chat amongst ourselves. The aide who escorts Harry back to us gives him a very big hug, and seems reluctant to leave. There are half a dozen of us in the room. A regular party.
A day later, I have been summoned; Harry has the next rant ready. What a relief to have him to myself. He's eating lunch while I sit in his wheelchair and read over the rant, handwritten from beginning to end with barely an edit. It will be a snap to type up, easier than my own writing, with all the strike-outs, inserts and arrows. I still have a lot to learn from Harry.
"Harry Willson speaking." Go ahead, insert your own name and try it. Say it with feeling. Be who you are, own who you are, in whatever shape you are in, right now. Get out a pen and start writing on the back of some scrap paper - two pages top to bottom and don't strike out anything. Let it be what it is. Let it be the thought for today, not an afterthought, or a regret, or an edit. Stet. Let it be. Then see what you can learn from it, from what came out uncensored.
Keep an eye on this space for updates and messages from Harry. If you would like to send Harry a message, please e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with "for Harry" in the subject line, or snail mail to c/o Amador Publishers, LLC, 611 Delamar NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107. I will transmit your messages for Adela as well. And I will eagerly fill your book and gift certificate orders. Thank you for being part of our labor of love. The adventure in publishing continues...
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2010,
Zelda Gatuskin, editor-in-chief, Amador Publishers, LLC
Update 1/26/10: Harry says he's writing something for next month, but he doesn't want to call it a Rant anymore. So, with a new year, a new start.