Friday, October 25, 2013


Photo courtesy Flickr

It’s my privilege to sit in on a weekly support group for people with a deadly, complicated disease. I’m healthy, fortunately, and the situation that brought me to this special community no longer exists. The dialogue is so rewarding, though, that I can’t stay away.

Last week a couple appeared with their twenty-year old son, who is dodging the reaper. The parents are immigrants, justly proud of their and their extended family’s achievements, and stunned by the brutality of their child’s malady. After introductions, the father mentioned that he and his son have been casting around for things to do together while the medical struggle keeps the young man at home. They settled on fishing, the father said, a sport about which they know nothing. In tears, the father said he mentioned the plan to a native born acquaintance. The fellow said he had a good friend who’s a fishing guide and arranged an outing complete with boat at no charge.

The father said he thought this country was all about competition, and a member of the group pointed out that competition is one of those words whose meaning has been turned upside down. The roots of the word mean “to strive together”.


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