Lessons from Callie
Ok enough about coffee!
Callie is my husband’s 14 year old cousin. She was diagnosed with Alstrom’s early in life and fights a battle every day. Alstrom’s is an extremely rare syndrome that is degenerative and incurable. Lest you think she victimizes herself, think again. She is, by far, one of the most spirited people I know with the very best sense of humor.
Callie was with us at my in-laws for part of Christmas break and I feel like everyday she was there, I have been given an open invitation to learn. Callie cannot see, she needs multiple insulin shots daily, her diet is extremely strict and there is a continual threat of what malfunction her body will hand her next. But from the moment she walks in the room, her no-nonsense view on life is apparent.
As I watch her interact and express love to each person in her own way, I’ve begun to notice the honesty she expresses both about her condition (she like to remind you she’s blind when you say silly things like doesn’t that look good? ) and about her surroundings isn’t a coping mechanism. It is simply her living a life stripped of any ability to be deceitful or mean spirited both because of her need for those around her and truthfully, her just not seeing the point of messing with it.
I’m grateful for my ability to look my husband in the face and see the exact color of his eyes at the moment I tell him I love him. I can’t imagine not seeing the smile on my sister-in-laws face as people open the presents she thoughtfully picked out for them; or finding out when I open the sweater my mother-in-law picked for me that it’s the most perfect shade of navy. Callie can’t see that. For me, it makes her expressions and emotions that much more pure and treasured. She lives her life in truth and places complete trust in those around her because she has no other option. Moving from place to place requires a guide, finding out the bracelet we gave her is purple required someone to tell her and even on our last night together, as we built a Gingerbread house, my sister-in-law had to walk her through every step of it and Callie believed every word she was told and had an amazing time. Pure trust. How refreshing.
How many of us could do that? Rely solely on those around us to be able to carry out even the most acute daily task? Or even beyond needing servant-hood out of our community, how many of us truly trust every person we have placed in valuable roles in our lives?
This raises a few thoughts in my head. Number one being this: Have I surrounded myself with people who possess and cultivate pure emotions and motives? And secondly, have I done a good enough job of pouring into and loving those that I have surrounded myself with so that the community I have created is built on trust, honesty and willingness to serve?
Callie taught me how vital those things are and I owe her so much for that. Make the most of this week and dig into what role community plays in your life. 2011 can be a year of deepened relationships and rich community but it is all up to you.