shades of grey

       I see everything in shades of grey, nope, I’m not color blind.  It’s just that there is no black & white.  My eyes see  many shades of what can be classified as “right or wrong“, what’s “fair” what’s “beautiful”, what’s “normal“.  Does that make me a  Liberal? Leftist? Wackadoodle? Or, kind, compassionate, generous, normal?  I’m not sure, it’s all grey to me.  One thing that I am quite sure of, is that when I encounter people with opinions that are so constraining, limiting, exclusive, and righteous, I am quite confident that their black & white world is not as wonderful as my grey one.  I’m right, you’re wrong, period!  Now does that sound like somebody you want to play in your sandbox?  Well, not me.  These people are lining -up to be our president…. well, it’s not really a line.  Queing-up implies order and the politeness of waiting your turn.  Not this line, these people are the RIGHT ones and their line is more like an agry mob back stabbing their way to the top of the pile to claim the prize which is rightfully theirs.  And that is, the right to fix the rest of us by teaching, legislating, preaching, and leading us to be right just like them.  

   Yesterday I spent an entire day making ceramic tile with children with cancer, their siblings, and a group of 95 volunteer counselors at the Ronald McDonald Camp in the Pocono Mountains.  The tiles will be incorporated into a mosaic mural at the Ronald McDonald House at Front & Erie, in Philadelphia, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the camp.   It was splendid.  Some of the kids had obvious signs of having suffered terribly disfiguring “curative surgery” for their cancers.  Others showed the lasting signs of high dose radiation, chemotherapy, and various medication delivery devices that have been inserted, removed, & re-inserted into their youthful bodies throughout what is sometimes years of treatment.  All of this stealing precious time from a life that is in itself only a few years in length and of uncertain duration.  I would nominate any one of these kids to be my president.   It was all beautiful. 

   All are accepted here, all are loved. The goal is for each child to walk about enjoying the activities of childhood without fear of the stares, exclusions from life, and unwelcomeness of the “normal”.  Hold your head up high, have fun, and feel normal, whatever that is.  No white coats, no carts with needles filled with poisons, no monstrous machines, painful tests, none of it.  Kids doing kids things with other kids.  Yep, there were crutches,  wheelchairs, paralysis, blindness, deafness, amputations, terrible scars, unintelligible speech, tube feedings, incontinence, and  that special crazy kind of baldness that comes from cranial radiation. In even greater numbers were big smiles, hands held, tender hugs, and laughter, giggling, belly-aching laughter.   There was also a great  group of adults young & old spending their week of summer vacation to play, sweat, and be eaten alive by mosquitoes .  They were  there to provide assistance whose need was determined, defined & directed by the campers.  It was all good.

   This is a world that I know quite well from my career as an oncology/HIV/AIDs nurse.  I walked among the gravely ill for 22 years and saw terrible things side-by-side with the best that humanity has to offer.  I met people too rotten to be forgotten at times sharing a room with the softest, kindest souls that our species has ever produced.  Yep its all out there.  I have seen human beings in great  health and grave illness, cut open, sewn back up, flesh rotting off  bones, bleeding, dying, dead.  It is astonishing what the human body can fight & survive before finally succumbing.  Sometimes the end comes quickly, violently,   brutally painful, or cruelly long & drawn out.  But, many times, there is a mercifully & peaceful passing.   It is beyond belief to witness first hand what horrors human beings are capable of inflicting on themselves and each other, sometimes out of psychiatric issues so common that they can almost be considered normal and other times the atrocities are righteous acts adjudged by those who are right on those who are deservingly wrong.  

     I learned two things from my experiences with the dying: there is a wide range of what is OK, and who am I to judge?  Spell check tells me that there are at least 2 words in today’s babble that aren’t “real words” and, yes,  I am guilty of crafting  rambling run-on sentences with the over-use of commas, such as this one right here, so what?  It’s a grey world for me baby and I like it better that way.

No Comments

  1. Lynn on August 18, 2011 at 10:07 am

    love this post!!!

  2. Mary Lou Fulmer on August 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Grey is good

  3. katdazzle on August 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I feel exactly the same way. How lucky we were yesterday to be touched by those little angels.

  4. Lauren on September 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I am proudly raised gray.

  5. smalamed on September 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I love you Lauren. You make me proud every day 🙂

  6. Holly on March 23, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for the goose bumps on my arms and the tears in my eyes. Gray is a wonderful way to be and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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