Body Appreciation

On Saturday afternoon I went to teach my weekly self-esteem class at the girls orphanage. I couldn’t find my older girls for the class, let alone any girls at all, it was strange. I wondered why the girl who let me in hadn’t said anything… But on my way to search for the girls, I ran into my old friend Diana. She was a girl who lived there back when I was here, she was probably 19 or 20 then. Her mom also lives there in the elderly care unit, although she is not that old. Both Diana and her mom have a disease that none of the doctors here seem to be able to name. But what it does is slowly make you not be able to walk or talk or move much, all the while you still understand everything anyone says to you, and what is going on around you. When I lived here in 2004 Diana was still walking by herself, still understandable, still living with the girls. Diana now lives with the older women, uses a walker, and I have the hardest time understanding her. But she remembers me. She can tell me what day the OSSO girls come. She can tell me most of the colors in English and door and window too. I offer to bring her things to decorate her walker (which she hates) and she is excited. She is still my Diana from before, just a little less able to take care of herself.

And I am heartbroken. I remember spending time with her mom when I was here, how much pain she was in, and how she understood everything, and how scared I was for Diana. And Diana is not there yet, she is still walking, but she is going there. And there is nothing I can do but visit her and sit and hold her hand and try my hardest to understand what she is saying. And that’s all I can do.

It makes me remember, to always be happy with my body. To be happy for the things it can do. To be happy that I can walk, talk, run, jump, stand up, go up and down stairs without any problem at all. It is so easy to get hung up on having a bad hair or face or body day. But what about having a body? What about having hair? How many times do I not stop and be grateful for that? Anyway, I just needed to get that out so I remember.

In less dramatic news, Thursday at OSSO I was helping Lindsey practice Spanish when the Spanish teacher came downstairs from class with the girls. Somehow after talking for a while (and he telling me my Spanish was perfect and me eating it up, not caring how untrue it was) we ended up with an inexpensive flexible teacher for Aaron! Hooray!

Also Aaron is getting excited for his stint as Papa Noel this Friday, both at the orphanage in the morning and church party in the evening.

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4 Responses to Body Appreciation

  1. Momeree says:

    Lou Gehrig’s disease. That sucks.

  2. Brittany says:

    i’m glad you posted your thoughts on being grateful for our bodies.

    i was having a really bad day a week or so ago. when i was on my run the next day i thought about you and the people you serve. and i thought that it was ridiculous for me to have a bad day for no reason (really i had no explanation for my bad day…) and how there are people who have it far worse than me. and then i felt stupid for being grumpy.

    sometimes i tend to take advantage of my blessings. and some times i need to step back and remember i have everything i need – plus some.

    it’s good to remember when i gripe about my clothes being too tight – that i am healthy. and that is more important than having clothes that fit.

    so, thanks for passing along your thoughts. i really admire the work you’re doing! i would love the opportunity to do the same thing. though i think i wouldn’t even know where to begin or how to go about it.

  3. shadylady says:

    Thanks Kelsey, this was a really good thing for me to read, to help ME remember to appreciate the things I have, the things I can do, the things I take for granted. It is all too easy to focus on what I don’t like, rather than appreciate what I love.

    Oh, and by the way…. I love you! Merry Christmas. Cornish game hens for all! Or Guinea pigs perhaps…

  4. Michelle says:

    i love your comments and thoughts. i feel the same way and take everything i have for granted. i love reading your blog and all the great things you guys are doing. you’re my hero!!!

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