By Sharon Bowers
After being in a place where I had everything in order, I became angry and depressed because the thief, Parki, stole my confident self. All I could think about was how bad this feels . . . on so many levels.
Fast forward nearly two years. Wow! The lessons I have learned and soaked in feels like a bubble bath calming my whole being. In my quieter, slower paced life, I realize the thief left me gifts to open and use for my lifetime.
Humility, for example, is a gift I have learned to love. I was so independent and self-sustaining, that I didn’t think I needed anyone. I did it my own way. Parki has humbled me in the revelation of needing others every day. Now I am more of a team player, “my way” is now “our way.” My friend, Grace, reached for my plate one evening, never missing a beat in the conversation of the group around the table. Knowing that I would struggle with it, she cut my steak and quietly put the plate back in front of me. I see the difference in my friends and family . . . in a good way. The tenderness of folks I’ve known for years softens me. I see them with a warm glow that surrounds us and creates a sweet spirit for all of us to share. Love in action is truly a gift. My being aware of it is an awesome gift.
Now, I realize another priceless gift I have received: gratitude and appreciation for the growing changes surrender brings to relationships. Having to adapt to Parkinson’s, my sister and I are partners on this journey. I am more aware that Parkinson’s affects not only me but also the ones closest to me. For years, I witnessed my sister’s ministry, making a difference in other people’s lives. I am thankful for her generosity of time and attentiveness to my activities of daily life, her ministry to me. My understanding of surrender has increased immensely. Shyness in sharing myself has taken a backseat. I am more open with others. This depth of gratitude is a gift that I may never have known if Parki, the thief, had not left behind this souvenir. This new dimension of sensitivity gives me delight in the simple little things. A “simple” phone visit with my daughter has more depth, truth and meaning because of my new reflective, contemplative nature. This gift is a great motivator to live each moment with a full cup of gratitude.
The unwrapped truth of the thief’s gifts is “I am a better person, a whole person.” I am determined to work with goals in mind, to keep hope always fired up, to hold onto the hand of another, and to let go of whatever is dark. The gift of Light and Discernment!
Lastly, if it were not for Parki, the thief, I wouldn’t be here with you, my new friends. I have noticed incredible and kind people are all along my pathways. Life is full of surprises. I believe that I can truthfully say, the thief is a gift-bearer. As I continue to learn the value of each gift, the art of positive thinking triumphs over the progression of Parkinson’s weight.
I choose Life.