Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Blind Side

Every once and awhile a movie comes along that sets itself apart from others, there is something about it that literally shakes you! You see, movies always have a story to tell whether it is good, horrible, scary maybe even inspirational! I sat with my wife and for every minute that "The Blind Side" was on I felt transfixed. When you peel back all the layers it has something deep and meaningful to say. That special message hits the deepest part of who you are as a person, it takes you to a place that brings you hope; carries you to a place of contemplation.  You see in life we all come to impasses sooner or later, we reach a road unto which our decisions drastically shape the very essence of who we are. Sometimes we get lost in our circumstances and all we simply need is someone to come along and believe in us, to help us on our journey. Michael who is one of the main characters in the movie is that someone who was in need of that special encouragement and devotion. The choices of those who surrounded Michael literally carved a deep impression into his life and forever changed the course of his world.
     Well when I run on April 24th I want to be the change that others so desperately seek, it's not a fairy tale it's an option! I literally have an opportunity to shape someone else's life forever. So my quest comes with a lot of passion because of my personal fight with a stroke that tries to take away so much in my life. I am going to run because I want to see love change someones life! I feel like so many people are numb because of the way the world is, so much could change if we just tried. If we took the time to help each other out. I know I may sound a little too positive but that is who I am, I will never be anything less than that. I hope you will be moved by my words and wish to make a difference as well. Sometimes in life the littlest things can make the biggest difference! Please come and join me and lets watch history happen, now if you think that you couldn't make a difference because you are just one person than you have missed one of the most valuable lessons that any human being should hold onto, that is this; you are more important than you know!!
 Where a thousand would doubt
feel that there is no room for change
there is always someone who will believe
there is always someone who will rewrite history

I choose the pen
not the paper!!

                            By EVK

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dear Mr Santa

Just a little while ago my wife and I went to the Christmas Bureau, it has become our yearly visit. The Christmas Bureau is designed to help people who can't afford Christmas, people who are in need. Well my family fits that description. I felt embarrassed when we first went, maybe even a bit ashamed. We were heavily hit by the stroke and so it really shook us to the core, I mean we obviously didn't expect to be permanently disabled. We lost so much in a short time, the list is too long to mention but driving was a big one for us. For two years we couldn't go anywhere without taking a bus.
     So there we were waiting in line with the rest of the people there. I looked into so many faces and they looked so empty and sad, it truly was heart wrenching for me to see. It just felt like so many broken dreams in one room, in one place. Some people were there because of bad choices in life and some were there because of bad circumstances. I heard a phrase once and I never forgot it, it goes like this "The rain falls on the good and the bad alike" Sounds inspiring doesn't it? Well in my opinion this phrase has become more true than I could have ever imagined. Things just happen.....
     Well here it is four years later and I am driving, I could have never imagined the freedom it brought me. I felt like an eagle soaring above the clouds! Seriously I felt so happy and so free! I know that we should feel happy when we receive gifts and don't get me wrong I sure do feel pretty excited when I do but there is something that is more beautiful than gifts that are tangible. I lost so many things four years ago and now I am looking back and seeing how much I appreciate what I have within my grasp. I am one of the richest guys around! I really mean that, I know the value of a smile, the precious gift of being able to walk and the profound dedication of a wife who will never leave my side. I would not have known all of this unless I had faced these horrible trials. I am not saying that I wish anyone to go through what I am going through but I am wishing that others could feel the hope that I feel!
     On this very day a wonderful family came by our house and brought us presents and warm smiles. I was so moved, they didn't even know who we were. They just wanted to give from their hearts and I could see that they were sincere. I took the time to tell them my story and to let them know that I appreciated everything that they had done. I was moved by their hearts of kindness not their presents wrapped in beautiful paper. We needed to see people who were thoughtful, who had no other intention than to just give with a joyful heart! Isn't that what God teaches us? We should all give with a happy heart. 
    Today I got what I had wished for, people who really cared about their fellow man. I hope that someday soon I can pay it forward as well...I guess for now I will be passing out free hugs and kisses. They are cheap and the return is amazing!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Anger and Peace

Last night was tremendously difficult but before I get into this story I just want to say ahead of time that there was beauty within the pain. I don't welcome trials or tribulations readily but when they begin I understand that I need to fight, to survive. Late one evening I was upstairs washing the dishes and my wife was frustrated and she needed someone to talk to. She felt angry about feeling alone, finances and a whole list of other things that are not worth mentioning. As she listed off all the things she was struggling with I began to feel helpless! I knew that most of the feelings she felt were because of my stroke and I began to crawl into my cocoon,  my thoughts became lonely and isolated. I remember as a child falling asleep in my warm cozy bed and as my mind drifted off into another world I suddenly was taken to a dark wooden shack. The light ever so slightly pierced through the cracks and I could feel a sudden breeze. I walked over to the corner of the room and noticed a broken window with shutters swaying back and forth. I looked outside and then to my surprise the light quickly hid beneath the dark clouds. The winds began to grow stronger and I became fearful. I was worried that the wooden shack would not survive the onslaught of vicious winds and rainfall. I quickly tried to close the shutters and hide within the dark foreboding shadows. The winds came like a rushing tide, piercing every crack with a whistling sound of fear. I clenched my knees and cried in silence, though I am sure that my fears could be heard if the winds whispered.
     After a brief time of wind torn anxiety and self doubt I mustered the courage to wait out the storm and not be afraid. I began to relax my grip both on my mental fear and on the storm that had passed me by. Now I know that this was just a dream but now as an adult I feel that dream left an imprint, a mark. My fears as a child were hidden within that old wooden shack and the winds of uncertainty. Well here I am once again facing that storm, hiding in a shack that once was a beautiful building with beautiful warm tender memories. The stroke took a lot of those memories away but I will no longer cringe under the shadows of fear and doubt!
     As I slowly regained my senses I broke free from the cocoon and I simply stretched out and let my wings begin to fly. I was indeed free, not as what many would perceive freedom as but what I knew it was. I was and am no longer cringing under the winds of fear, instead I have learned to bend with the seasons of change and my wings have become stronger. I am a survivor and now it is time to fly, to be the hope and live the change. I cannot go back to the way I was and it would be silly to expect otherwise. A butterfly doesn't wish to be a caterpillar, he just learns to fly and not look back. So wherever my dreams will soar I will go even farther!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's a wonderful life

I recently attended a special feature with my entire family. The theater was showing "It's a wonderful life" and I was so excited to see it on the big screen. The thought of seeing my all time favourite christmas movie just thrilled me to no end! As we opened the doors into the theatre we walked slowly into the dark vast sea of unknown people. The place was packed with fans and I was completely taken back by the crowd. I turned to my wife in complete excitement, wanting to say something but my lips said nothing. We quickly found four seats as the movie began to play. Since my stroke affected my memory somewhat, I couldn't remember all the details of the movie but something profound happened. As we watched the entire movie I felt dumbstruck by the uncanny similarities. The emotions that George Bailey felt seemed almost surreal to me.I couldn't process all of what I saw at first, I just slumped my head forward and cried silently. In particular there was a scene where George discovered that his uncle lost a seizable amount of money and so he went home absolutely devastated. As he entered his home he started to complain and bark at everyone. He looked completely torn apart and removed from himself; shocked by everything that had transpired he vented on his family and left in shame. My little daughter told my wife that, that was what daddy is like because of the stroke. I overheard the statement and knew fully well that the movie reminded me of the same thing. I felt like I was watching myself on the big screen. I felt naked and stunned. This movie had previously been a warm inspiring movie, now all of a sudden it felt like it was about me.
     My life had changed so much in four years that even a movie looked different to me. Now all of a sudden I related to a man who was lost and confused and completely crushed by his self worthlessness. I had become another George Bailey in a strange sort of way. Though I did not see an angel I did see a world without my family. The four years of confusion  and distance left me almost invisible, I watched as everyone disappeared and  I became unknown to the life I once knew. Desperately I wanted to be alive, apart of a world that I no longer could reach. It was very painful to watch! The amazing thing is that I am back and apart of a world that once was lost. I have been granted the opportunity of thankfulness, and though there isn't a pile of money by the Christmas tree there is hope wrapped up in two wonderful children and a beautiful wife. I will never be the same man that I once was but that is something that I will deal with one day at a time, for now I am going to kiss my family like crazy and travel this life with a family who loves me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crabs in a bucket

Working in the hospital was wonderful for me and the experience with working alongside such a marvelous group of people was beautiful. I loved every minute of it and the patients new it. It was written on my face, I felt like I was making a difference in peoples lives. The strange thing that followed was sad but true, as I began to get appreciated for my happy demeanor and my positive outlook my partner became less and less excited. I could see that she was becoming bitter and unkind. I read a story about crabs pulling each other down in a bucket and it made me think of this very situation. In fact I think that recently I saw that behaviour again, it is surprising to me but not shocking. Either people honestly wish for you to do well in life or they secretly feel that they don't wish for anyone else to do well except them. I call those kinds of people LIFE suckers, they don't know how to genuinely wish for others to do well unless they can benefit in some small way. Personally I think that that life choice is damaging in so many ways, they desperately pull whoever is trying to reach the top of the bucket and they quickly pull them down. There lives are filled with desperation and sadly they have a void that desires constant attention. I personally believe we need to surround ourselves with people who lift us up and likewise we ought to do the same. It becomes synergistic, basically we ignite one another with encouragement. You can either choose to encourage or remain lost in a small world of crabs, wanting only to live in a bucket.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Say the word

When I first began to attend school it was frightening, utterly scary. I remember the day as though it was yesterday. It was a reasonably beautiful day and my mom drove me to the school. I don't remember if my mother said much but I do remember her face and her smile. My mom was and is the most wonderful comforter in the world, she was a natural at it. As we stepped out of the car I realized that it was time to go away and this was my first time being really away from my mother. Okay I will admit it now, I was crying! I didn't want to be away from the world that I new. A sweet mother and a warm friendly home full of love for which there was endless baked goods! I mean, do you really think a kindergarten class will give me lots of hugs and kisses and baked goods?! I don't think so, well maybe but that is besides the point! As my mother hugged every last breath out of my body I dragged myself to the front door. Suddenly I was attacked by a new arrival to the clan of KINDERGARTEN. This fellow classmate grabbed my face and kissed me nonstop until we walked into the classroom. As I desperately reached for the asylum of 123's and ABC's I noticed the teacher laughing at my circumstance. It was then and only then that I knew this was going to be a long introduction into the world of learning. As I sat in class like a perfect child (completely not paying attention) I memorized every little detail and studied every word that was spoken (I was so admiring the colours of the room) I slowly forgot that I missed my mom and began to love the idea of learning until I got my first ear pulling, hair yanking, hand slapping initiation! During the rest of that year I was repeatedly slapped, ear pulled and sent to the corner. I must have been a very wild and crazy kid to deserve such affection from my teacher!  All kidding aside, that experience left a bitter view of learning and of school as a whole. My teacher was a very unkind and harsh lady. She left a thumb print of hatred that pursued me all through my first 9 years of school.
     It is very common to be affected by our initial experiences, the learning curve. We are forever imprinted with those memories, those thoughts. While most other children in the class had a delightful time I was on the other end of the stick (literally) As the years went by I realized how much I hated school and everything that pertained to education, only because of the bitter root of discipline. The difficulty that I truly remember having was the fact that my parents spoke german at home 24/7 and when I went to school I had tremendous difficulty listening to the english language being spoken. As years passed and my passion for loathing the educational system grew I eventually left school at grade 10. It is a much bigger story than what you see written here but what happened later was amazing. I decided to take a special educational class when I was in my mid 20s and I learned at an exponential rate. The reason was simple, I walked in with a fresh mind and a passion to over come my distaste. The wall had grown so tall that it blocked the sunshine, the view of hope. I  went crazy, I learned everything I could get my hands on! That moment became a monumental journey. I realized that not only am I smart but that I deserve to change my outlook and live a life full of happiness in whatever I do. It is simply never to late for change...

In the hours that change
the minutes that climb
my memories have held
the beauty of gold
and the rocks of lime
for though I sought the value of one
I should have seen
the precious
the lovely hands of God
underneath the sun

                                             by EVK

My experience pushed me further and further into caverns of fear and disdain. I did not see the precious truth even among the rocks of pain. Slowly my heart was opened and God showed me that it is not just the gold that is precious to him but every rock that is discovered. Every rock has a purpose. When I discovered that hope I began to crawl out and see a new beginning! A new world of change!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

100 fliers and a dream please!

There I was standing in a huge store with a table and a chair. People came rushing in to see what was on sale and what treats were at the tables. I felt naked for the first time in a long while, uncomfortable with my surroundings and worried with my presentation table. I didn't really have that much to offer in the way of goodies but my dream was lying there in a 100 fliers of hope, waiting to be discovered. As I watched face after face walking by I wondered if I could really make a difference. So many people and hardly a single one came up and spoke to me. I sat down with my hand on my head, I felt like crying. My mind was racing a mile a minute! I was thinking to myself "Ernie why do you believe in this, why do you think you can make a difference?" My mind was hitting another wall, another fear. I just closed my eyes and thought "You can do this Ernie!" So I took a deep breath and just relaxed.
     Surprisingly a young gentleman came over and we talked to each other for some time. He spoke of his surgery concerning his tumor and I spoke of my stroke recovery and we suddenly felt a strong bond, an unknown feeling of understanding; comradery! Knowing that we both knew what suffering meant, what fear tasted like! It was as though we had fought together against a common enemy and travailed! We shook each others hands repeatedly and said "goodbye" For some reason I feel as though we will become very good friends. We spoke to each other with conviction and with honesty. That is something that is lacking in a lot of people, we like to present ourselves as what we wish others to see instead of what we really are. When the night was over I was so proud of myself and my wife and well everyone who supported me. There was a few coins here and there but that didn't matter compared to the people who won my heart that night. When someone comes up to you, a complete stranger; gives you their heart in a handshake and tells you their tears. It simply shakes you! That is why I am running, why I will run this distance. I will make a difference for the many who have suffered, whatever illness it may be! This run is for you!!