Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Sometimes I find myself searching for inspiration, this weekend it came to me - in the form of Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Orlando. They traveled up from New Jersey to play tourist in Boston and welcomed us to join the party.

Aunt Lorraine has relied on others for help for most of her life. Uncle O has always cared for her, but a recent Parkinson's diagnosis and a quick decline has him wheel chair bound as well. I find it so hard to accept help from others, but Aunt Lorraine and Uncle O do so with grace, humility, and gratitude. But I know it isn't easy. Inspiration lesson #1.

In fact almost everything is difficult for them. Certainly it would be easier to stay home. Surely it would have been easier to skip the Freedom Trail (a walk through Boston) or the ferry to islands in the Boston Harbor. But they insist on living and to them that means being out in the world exploring, learning, and experiencing. They chose not to sit and lament on the difficulties of their travels, rather they relish even the smallest moments of pleasure. Inspiration lesson #2.

How did they manage? A former student of Uncle O's has stayed in touch with them for over 25 years. She and her family invited Uncle and Aunt L to Boston for the weekend because they imagined they would enjoy it. Four teenagers, Dee and Bruce took two cars from NJ to Boston - loading wheelchairs and canes along with their own belongings. They settled them into the hotel helping them to bed and returning in the morning to help them prepare for the day. They called the Boston Chamber of Commerce to arrange for accommodating restaurants and tourist attractions. They packed their favorite foods for lunch. They slathered on sunscreen and sought out tour guides to explain the sites. And they pushed them everywhere.

I never heard their teenagers complain or grumble that we were moving too slowly. They never rolled their eyes or disappeared for awhile. Rather they jumped at the chance to have a turn pushing or made an effort to point out an interesting site. Several times that day I stopped to observe them in action, saying a silent prayer that my children would display such empathy, respect, and selflessness in 15 years. Inspiration lesson #3.

Thank you for an awesome weekend!


Melissa Dargan Heintjes said...

Great post, great pictures... Totally inspirational, next time I think life is hard, I will surely think of Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Orlando visiting Europe and Boston and all the places they have yet to go... Lord knows they he plans! xxoo thanks Laur,

jan said...

Lauren, that was truely an inspsirational story . Living life to the fullest! in real time!! what a great couple and those teenagers, that's where character is built! you are right we as parents want to see compassion in our children!! thanks for the lesson! cousin jan