Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Life Lessons

Bruce Kramer was Dean of the School of Education, Leadership and Counseling at the University of St. Thomas when he was first diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. That was on December 6, 2010. ALS is an incurable disease, the same one that took the 1930’s baseball icon, Lou Gehrig. And today, Bruce Kramer is being treated at the same Mayo Clinic where Lou Gehrig received treatment. Although there are several drugs and technological helps, such as a power chair, being used today to help Bruce Kramer move, breathe and manage his disease minimally, he is keenly aware of the inevitability of the ever-growing loss of strength and mobility, of body changes, of mental readjustments and emotional crises. These are never absent even with every sunrise or sunset, every breath or movement of his pen.  He continues to write a blog, using voice recognition software. Last year in an interview with Cathy Wurzer he mentioned the software that aids his correspondence:

          Right.  My whole life, I thought with my fingers.  If I really wanted to know how I thought
          about something I’d just start twiddling on the keyboard and eventually I’d look up and there
               was something that kind of made sense to me. It’s taken me a while to make the transitions.  
               But yes, now I use the voice recognition software. I’m actually beginning to use it to control
               the computer itself. You can tell it to mouse up, mouse down, double click, things like that, and
               that actually has saved me some energy and allowed me to continue to work even when I’m
               really, really tired.
               I’m practicing with an eye gazing system which would speak for me if I lose my voice and that’s
               hard. That’s pretty hard stuff but I’m practicing. … I’m getting better.  You don’t want to get
               this stuff when you need it, you want to get it before you do…

Bruce Kramer, now in his 50s, is an amazing person. In just four years his self-perception has had to change innumerable times, and he describes it as a jarring experience each time.  He keeps a bucket list but he says very emphatically: “You have to care about other people besides yourself.”

Minnesota Public Radio continues its series of stories about Bruce Kramer.  You can read all of them at:  http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/living_with_als/

Renée Domeier, OSB

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Moist Greenness

Moist Greenness

by Sister Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck

Today, is a foretaste of summer warmth. Just yesterday, wickedly strong winds and pelting rain stung soil and skin with winter’s lingering gust of chilling power

So today, I stand outside my door and can’t stop thanking the sun for its life-giving energy as feathering leaves greet me on every scrub and tree.

 I marvel at the courage of spring flowers pushing their vibrant colors through the chilly wet soil on the south side of each building.

What is it that makes me giggle every May when I’m surprised again by earth’s unfolding display of moist greenness?

  • soft sights manifesting incredible strengthening as each day passes
  • familiar flowers and fauna remembering again who they are after their brief winter womb time
  • birds and critters resuming their notorious antics and munching on fresh luscious tidbits

Their chorus of delight seems to shout, “Free again, free again, thank God I’m free again!”

 I add my grateful prayer to the voices of these nature-kin.
  • May the evolving love of God teach creatures of every land how to learn from our nature-kin ways to receive varied forms of daily moisture.
  • May the warmth of Wisdom-Energy help us discover creative ways to free oppressed peoples and oppressed creation from their winter-womb and manifest their true freedom as vibrant bearers of God-ness.

We gratefully welcome your softening moisture and your infinite loving warmth in our daily lives.