The Adventures of Kidney Boy

A Journal About Living With End Stage Renal Disease. Dialysis. Transplants. Love. Family. Friends. The Unsung Donor. This is my life, from the end of a needle to the bottom of a pill bottle.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Enthusiasm - a musing on loving life.

You know, for all the complaining I can do about things, there really is a part of me that is just absolutely in love with life.  I'm in love with the human experience - my human experience. 

It's almost a damning condition: when I was young, I was so sweet and naive, and often the world looked like this place of wonder.  It starts out small.  When I was a child, my street looked like the crazy world to explore. At the end of one side of the street we lived on, the highway as built high on a mound of dirt - but I could hear the cars go by, and see them.  I was fascinated by where they were all going.  I never walked down there, because it was kind of scary.  Even though the highway was up 30 feet on top of a hill, I knew it was dangerous.  That section of highway had been built in the middle of the residental neighborhood we lived it; I imagine that only years before my birth, it wasn't there.  But as a small child, you don't think about these things.

As I got older, my world got larger - went to a school that was about 5 minutes away, but that seemed like a world away.  And I loved it.  And, of course, I met so many new people - I remember being excited just to have classmates.  Though that's when a sweet and trusting little kid like me learned that people can sometimes be mean for no reason.  Yet, it didn't dampen my spirit. I was just so enamored with everything - school was all about learning. I loved learning.  I still do.

It's hard being enthusiastic about life, sometimes.  When I think about it, my hope for things has often led to a lot of heartache and disappointment.  It took a long time for me to realize that is just how life is.  I learned it the hard way a lot. There were a lot of tears, hiding in closets to cry, and a lot of contemplating.  Truth is life isn't fair; but that is such a hard concept for a child to wrap their mind around.  It's hard for adults to grasp too.

But if you concentrate all the time on how unfair life is, you miss the moments that matter.  The moments of beauty and grace.  Those things that make you happy to be alive.  A favorite song playing on the radio.  You know, there are some silly songs I hear, and instantly I'm back - years ago - smelling the sweet breeze of summer blowing in the open window at my parents house.  I'm remembering making a bologna sandwich and wolfing it down before going back outside. 

I'm remembering the smell of a burning fire.  The smell of the wood ablaze, and the smell of the meadow around us.  I can remember the rough feel of the wood of the shack I was sitting on.  I climbed up on the top of this little shack, and sat - feet dangling over the edge - drinking some crappy beer and hanging out with the greatest people in the world.  The music played off into the night, and the skies above us were dark.  Miles from cities and towns, we just hung out.  Our youth wasn't even a question.  I cracked jokes about my shoes.  I was wearing sandals, and it was cold, and I didn't care. My shoes were "magnetic and magnificent".  The fire was warm and bright. The smiles and laughs kept us going. We didn't have lofty plans beyond that night.

I'm remembering sitting in my backyard, playing my guitar. Six strings making melodies that I couldn't believe I was coaxing out of them.  The smiles of my friends as they sang along to the tunes.  The burning of those old citronella torches that graced the backyards of hundreds of thousands of suburban homes.

I'm remembering sitting in a car with a friend, still singing the song that was on the radio.  Laughing as we did, and then getting out and going home after getting dropped off.

God, life is so amazing sometimes.  It's the stupid moments that stick with you. For all the loves I've gained and lost, my greatest love is life.  It's been good to me - for some reason I was born with this love and appreciation for it inside me.  It's so great sometimes, it pours out of me in passionate waves - I get a little overcome by emotion.  Sometimes I think people don't understand it, and they think I'm just being silly.  But I've never felt anything more - never felt anything so clearly, with such an intense vision as I have about life.  About living. 

You know, I don't remember all the bad times so well.  Maybe I'm blocking them.  Maybe I just don't want to think about them.  Sometimes I can recall all the surgeries I've had, and how scared I was of them.  Not of the actions, but of the chance that I might not come back from them to live in my precious life, and to have all those moments to hang on too.  I do remember the last one - coming out of it - my body so sore, my mind a bit groggy, but I'll never forget the pressure I felt - in my hand, and my wife's small and harm hand grasped my big mitts. 

So, yeah, I can be cranky - but most of the time, I'm just amazed that I've been able to live the life I have.  I've loved so hard, and I've been loved.  And I've loved and appreciated every moment of that.

If I haven't seen you in a while, or talked, I'm sorry - life gets so complicated the older you get, and your free time and your circles of friendship and interaction get smaller.  I feel like there isn't as much of me to go around as there used to be, but you'd be amazed at how often I think of people.  And how sometimes I just want to send out messages to say "Hey! I hope you're doing well!" and the undertone on that is "Hey... I care about you.  You made an impression in my heart that is indelible and that is so amazing it moves me to tears."  But that makes everyone feel a little awkward.  We often tend to push those kinds of things aside. 

"Hey. I care about you. You made an impression in my heart that is indelible. It's so amazing, it often moves me to tears in my private moments. Thank you for being a part of my life."

~Steve

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