For the last 3 years I’ve struggled with 2 broken hips and a hip replacement. Some of the pins that held my broken bones together were misplaced so that caused arthritis which required the pin removal. This in turn caused further bone and tissue damage resulting in a total hip replacement. Consequently, I’ve spent lots of time in physical therapy, stretching and walking. Though I probably won’t be back to my old normal, I can walk!
In fact, I bring this up because I just returned from a trip to Germany, Austria and Italy—a hiking and cooking tour! And yes, I did it! With the “lean on” help of walking poles, a few men friends (my angels) and the encouragement of my support sisters (the graces) I actually climbed up hills and down mountain sides. It felt exhilarating! Was it easy for me to be the last person up the hill, or to ask for help when climbing got too hard or hurtful, or to be one of the few who had to stop frequently to catch my breath in the thin air? No, but as the days went on I felt both vulnerable and cared for, and it was all good!
Our guides and the others in our group were patient, kind, understanding and flexible. We were all realistic about the difficulties but also optimistic about the possibilities of my continuing with the group. I was able to enjoy traditional lunches at the Alpine huts and to view the green hills and grazing cows below as well as the distant snow capped mountains and weather worn rocky dolomite mountains—all of it worth every effort! And most enjoyable of all was meeting the people of those places and seeing how their lives, like mine, are intertwined with the land they inhabit. Hearing them speak of their wild game hunts and eating their fresh venison; helping them make butter and cheese from the cows and goats they tend so carefully; tasting the sauerkraut soup, the cheese spaetzle, the chicken dumplings and potato pancakes that are my mother’s heritage and that I remember from childhood. Rewards abounded!
So what was affirmed for me from experiencing this Alpine adventure?
- Taking a risk after weighing the odds, going forward even in uncertainty or fear, calling on resources and support—all of this bodes well for a positive outcome.
- Surprises are right around the corner.Weakness can become strength.
- Vulnerability can occasion kindness and care which create a close community.Relationships are formed with openness to give and take.
- Being limited is a human reality—at any age for any reason. Even with limitation I am whole—as are all those “others” with their own challenges.
- People everywhere are different but also the same—most of them wanting the best for themselves and others.
So, I encourage you to take good care and live fully no matter what your age or situation!