Maybe I am even more twisted than the guys who wrote and performed the song. Or maybe I finally get the lyrics they intended for us all to finally get.
Or maybe I am just the fool.
But I rolled up, made a reservation and a month or so ago allowed a sort of “Magical Mystery Tour” of my own to take me away.
For a while anyway.
While on the tour, I met some new angels. I saw some old ones that have been with me for years. And then there were the two angels with whom I have shared decades of magical trips – they once again accepted the invitation to join me.
The new angels did not come as a surprise. I expected their smiles, their laughter, their encouragement and their joyful eyes when they finally saw me do what they expected me to do. But I never expected the genuine manners in which they led me down their dark and cold hallways to the incredible warmth that ultimately radiated from what they each taught me.
A few of the old angels, the ones who knew about the tour, gladly forgave things like missed work and late rent. One of the old angels graciously provided for the journey gifts and food and encouraging second-hand words from a few of the very youngest of my old angels.
And the two I have known for so long?
Well, distance between us was overcome by the spirit of one of them. That happens often with this angel. But never more so than it did on this journey.
And the other angel? Well, he did on this tour what he always does. He brought other angels with him.
This is my twisted and foolish way of telling you where I have been and why I disappeared for so long. For a while, I kept perfectly still and could only grin. And without my angles, I would have been totally alone. This is my way of finally completing this “mystery tour.”
I am looking for no compassion. I am asking for no prayers. My traveling angels took care of most of that. And you guys and God have taken care of the rest.
Look, I am okay. Once I post this, my latest “tour” will be over! But the reservation was made in mid-February. That’s when I thought it would only be a one-week mission to the worst flu village I had ever encountered. Instead, it led to an emergency room diagnosis of pneumonia that then led to a five-day hospital stay.
My new angels, the ones from the hospital, smiled and laughed with me every moment we encountered each other. The nurses, the doctors, the attendants – even other patients and their families. On my final day there, my nurse and the attendant who had been assigned to me on that day tested me. I had to do without manufactured oxygen for a while, then walk the halls on my own. I had to maintain, on my own, a “90-percent” on the oxygen measuring monitor while performing for the nurse and attendant.
I swear I saw tears in their eyes as I successfully completed my walk. I certainly encountered their support and cheers. My new angels succeeded. So did I. Because of them.
While I was doing what I was doing on my journey, my landlord and boss and others I have known for a while all did what they do – live angelic moments of compassion, understanding and generosity. I still have a home. I still have work. I still have a place to bring the balloons another of the old angels delivered during the trip. And I still have the words of her children and of my grandchildren she delivered to me one night. Well, the balloons never made it to my home. The joy from that angel and the words from the loving children I know – well, that joy took those colorful air-filled gifts on other, more child-like, tours in the hospital.
Last month, I needed very badly the support of all of my angels. Honestly, I didn’t know where that tour was taking me. It was a total mystery to me at the time. My weight was way down. So was my blood pressure. My body temperature was the total opposite. I was a bit delirious, too. I sort of remember that. I do remember trying my best to be funny while dealing with the very serious medical folks in the ER. And with my best angel.
But the mystery of it all kind of guided me, too. Where would all of this lead me? When the hell will this tour end? And how will it? Will I die? Will I end up in hospital room after hospital room like my mother did before struggling to take her last breath? Or will I survive, at least to a degree, within some altered quality of life? That night, while I watched the world spinning ’round, the eyes in my head saw the sun going down.
I was afraid for awhile. Only a short while, though. I remember very clearly the moment on the first night of my hospital stay when I solved the mystery. When the world stopped spinning so fast. When I looked death and disorder squarely in the eyes, smiled and said, “I’m no fool. There’s nothing I can do about this. It’s in God’s hands. No matter what happens, this is an adventure I need. So, damn it, bring it on. And let me learn what I can learn.”
I then raised my head from the hospital bed, looked to my right where the sofa was placed beneath the massive window that lead my eyes to the heavenly night-time skies. Just beneath the glass-paned view was one of the angels who always encouraged me to think and to say and to believe such things. He was asleep. But he was there. It was my son.
And when I saw him there, a vision of my sister who lives hundreds of miles away appeared. It was only a vision. She wasn’t physically there. But I saw my sister who years before spent days and weeks and months and years doing for our mother some of the same physical things my own son did for his dad on that night. And just like my sister, he somehow subdued the emotional turmoil that’s always present when confronting a troubled parent. It wasn’t easy on him. I know. I have seen my sister and know how hard things were for her.
My sister was the angle he shared with me that night. And the message they both delivered in their own angelic ways? The message of love is always there with those two. But on that night I heard them say, through my own twisted interpretation of things, “Get off your ass and take care of yourself and those you love! Don’t become a helpless victim here. Engage in the adventure, but damn it – don’t ever stop trying to live!.”
“Don’t be the fool,” I thought to myself in my own words.
Look, I started writing this weeks ago. It took so long because I wanted each word to be the perfect one. But getting a written verbal grip on what I went through, what I learned, and what I now expect has been a difficult thing to do. So here is what I will tell you. Perfect or not, these next words are ones you can believe.
One day I will see the sun going down for the last time, and the tour will take me away forever. The final tour may be a long one. It might be a short one. But as we all can expect one day, it will be a certain one.
And that’s all okay. As long as we fight like hell until it’s time to be taken away. And as long as we, when the journey begins for sure, take with us in our dying hearts every angel who has ever graced our living ones, well – that’s more than okay.
Maybe I am twisted. But that last paragraph, for me anyway, rolls up my mystery trip. Keeps me perfectly still.
It makes this foolish man grin.