Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Dinner

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: Sunday Dinner.  Who are 5 people you’d love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why? Don’t worry we won’t be offended if you don’t choose those at WEGO Health

As I sit here thinking about how to respond to today's prompt, so many thoughts come to mind.  Do I want to choose for fun?  For sentiment?  For intellectual stimulation?  I've got to decide whether to entertain my inner child or seek spiritual enlightenment.

Actually ... no I don't!

The great thing about choosing 5 people (aside from the fact that 5 is my lucky number) is that I can do a little of each.  For a variety of reasons, each of the following people inspires me.  I would love the opportunity to get inside their heads a bit - to find out how they became who they are, why the do what they do (or did), and ask what advice they would want to share.

Sooo ... if I could have dinner with any five people from the past or present, I would choose:

  • My Grandmother
    I would give anything to have another day with my Gram.  I know that I was incredibly lucky to have her in my life for 36 years, but still feel like it was not enough.  I have nothing but positive memories of her: laughing together, volunteering together.  It has been three years since she passed, but she is always with me - not only in the tattoos on my wrist and shoulder, but in everything I do.  I am who I am because of her.  

  • William Shakespeare
    Since I was first introduced to his works in junior high school, Shakespeare has been one of my favorite writers. He wrote about issues and feelings so universal that four hundred years later, we can still relate.  He did it in a way that could make me laugh or cry.  I could read (or watch) his plays over and over again, and find something new every time.  I would love to sit down with him and talk about his writing process, his inspiration ... and if he happened to get inspired to create a character based on me in his next play, well ... I'd be ok with that!

  • Michael J. Fox
    I have had a crush on Michael J. Fox ever since I was a child watching Family Ties and Back to the Future.  I saw all of his movies, and even had a life-sized cardboard cutout of him in my room (it was a promo for Teen Wolf that my mom got from a video store).  But that's not why I'd want to have dinner with him.  When he was diagnosed with Parkinson's - and later, when it advanced to a point that he had to leave television - he could easily have become angry and bitter.  Anyone with a chronic illness knows how easy it is to wallow in self-pity and withdraw from the rest of the world. Instead, wrote inspirational books, started a foundation, and became the face of a previously not well known cause.  I am inspired by his eternal optimism, his strength, and his perseverance.
"For everything this disease has taken, something with greater value has been given -- sometimes just a marker that points me in a new direction that I might not otherwise have traveled.  So, sure, it may be one step forward and two steps back, but after a time with Parkinson's, I've learned that what is important is making that one step count; always looking up."  
~Michael J. Fox, Always Looking Up

  • John Lennon
    This magical meet-up would begin with John (yes, we'd be on a first name basis by then) sitting at the piano and performing my favorite song, Imagine.  I would let him know how much I admire him as the face (and voice) of peace, using his rock star status to draw attention to such an important movement.  I'd ask him about that, but also about what it was like to be at once loved and hated so strongly by people all around the world, and how he was able to continue to hold his head high.

  • Derek Jeter
    I never cared much about sports growing up, but when I was in college I had a boyfriend who was obsessed.  If there was a game on, he was watching ... so if I wanted to hang out with him, I had to watch, too.  It was the mid-nineties, baseball season, and I was introduced to the Yankees.  Much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed watching the games, and even started paying attention to the players.  Specifically, I noticed their shortstop, who had an incredible way of jumping, catching, spinning, and throwing a ball in one movement.  Jeter was the first athlete whose jersey I wore because I actually appreciated the player's ability (previously, I'd bought jerseys because I liked the name or the colors).  Twenty years later, he has become a true legend of the game.  More than his athleticism, though, Jeter has become the picture of grace, dignity, and true sportsmanship.  His Turn 2 Foundation strives to help children "turn 2" healthy lifestyles.  He has stayed clean, respectful, and true to the game - so much so, that even many Yankee-haters can't help but admire him.

**If you like what you read, tell a friend.  In fact, tell me, too - post a comment below!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but ... please be gentle!