My uncle and I piled into the car together, with all our camping gear, clothing, and all the food we could back (both of us very frugal). We set off early in the morning, but already the sun was bright in the clear blue sky that stretched across the front range. Traffic was light, but mountain activities had already started by the time we met the foothills, with BMX Bike rallies in full swing. We passed by the rich houses of the rocket and satellite scientists that worked near by. My uncle told of where various mountain roads lead (his family has been in Colorado since the Pioneer days). We smoked cigarettes and talked of old travels, talked about where we where heading, and what we were seeing that very moment.
He was a delight to travel with, and we were even invited to stay at one of the local's house (a privileged not often extended to outsiders, but we were extended family and my uncle George is a delight to talk to for people who are talkers). My pain forced my to move outside in the middle of the night, as the sand was softer to sleep on than the floor (everyone forgot the air mattress). So I moved my sleeping bag outside, knowing I had gotten a great night sleep on the soft desert sand before, and I was joined there by his dogs, who welcomed the company (as did I -- I love dogs) as we welcomed each other's warmth. The moon was full and so bright it was like a street lamp, but I found a way to shadow my eyes and sleep.
I woke up just before dawn, which I love doing. I was able to take my morning constitution, get my medication in me and get a good smoke in before people started waking up for breakfast. I watched the sky go from midnight blue, to a smoky Prussian blue, to that green-yellow it sometimes gets right before the rose of dawn begins... Watching the last stars wink out as I hear people shuffle to the outhouse and coffee brewing.
I heard my uncle say something after I had stepped outside the house. It rocked my to my core.
"You know... she's a walking miracle...."
I didn't hear anything after that, but I'm sure he went into an explanation about my health. Still, I had heard enough. He called me a walking miracle. This was a religious man, who didn't say such things lightly. My hosts, of course, didn't know that, but I did, so that he said it about me was all the more humbling. I vowed at that moment to respect his statement and start to treat myself with more respect, and learn the tools I needed to to treat myself with kindness instead of criticism all the time.
Part of that is history in my running This Happiness Project. [And that's my 20 minutes... tune in for more!]