Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Great Uncle Wally

I had a dream a couple of nights ago... one of those dreams that wakes you from it. Of course I don't remember all the details or what other things I dreamed that night, but I do remember the impression. I remember waking up and telling myself I needed to remember what I had dreamed. It was about my great uncle Wally.
My Great uncle Wally has been alive now for 85+ years. He lives next door to me now with my grandparents. Uncle Wally is special, he has survived unfavorable odds and a lifetime of relative silence. He was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck in which he suffered brain damage. My grandmother has taken care of him for as long as I've known him. I've lived around Wally for most of my life, I remember visits to his house with my mother and grandmother in downtown Riverside as early as my earliest memories. I remember thinking that his house was well kept for someone in his shoes. What I didn't realize was that my Grandmother went over there everyday more than once to help Wally. She dressed him, cleaned up after him, made sure he ate well. Wally can't concentrate very well and usually communicates only in yes or no. I remember trying to talk to him, but that mostly he was just Great Uncle Wally and that I felt bad for him. His likes and dislikes, his wants and desires, his dreams have always been a mystery besides his apparent love for anything sweet. Sadly to say I haven't given Wally much thought in my young adult life. Not until last night...
Last night in my dream, me and Wally shared a connection, through a microphone. It was some sort of special microphone that when he held it, I would hear on the other end ( and hidden behind a voters partition?) what he wanted to say, or what he was trying to communicate. We were in my grandparents backyard (a 1 acre garden). Like I said I don't remember all the details nor does it make much sense but what he said hit me. He was standing in front of my brother and my grandma and what I heard him say was that he loved his body and that he thought it was beautiful. Then he went on to thank my grandmother for her sacrifice and that he loved her very much.
I woke up... sweating I'm pretty sure; heart racing.
Not a nightmare.
What I think hit me was that he probably does or has learned to really feel that way.
What a great perspective, one that many of us do not share often. I know that I've been ungrateful for my body, under appreciated the health and beauty of it. Criticized it even. Hated it at times.
I'm sorry Great uncle Wally.
I'm sure my dream was a gift. One I want to share. We've often joked in our family what Wally would say if he could speak his mind, what was being pent up behind the barrier of his disability. What he said in my dream was the last thing I imagined he was aching to blurt out. My dream made me want to be able to sit down with Wally and have him tell me what he's learned and what he dreams about. Trials will make you better if you let them. They can remind you what really matters, give you restored balance and a happy grateful heart.
Remember your Heavenly Father, remember his gifts to you, including your beautiful body that enables you to live and experience all the great and horrible things this life has to offer. It shouldn't take a disability to make us be grateful for our ability.

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