September 23, 2015: Step up and get a better look

~by Louis Templeman

Staring out a tenth story window I was surprised to see a beautiful garden circling about the flag pole in front of the building. I was shocked at its simple beautiful design. The grass spread out in four triangles like petals separated in symmetry with brown stone pavers. The flag pole shot up from the center like a pistil of a flower. I am not saying it could be an award winner. I was simply moved by its beauty and form. From down below, near the valets, the revolving door, circle drive and sidewalk I have passed it more than ten times on my way to see my neurologist concerning treatment for my Parkinson’s.

When I come to this building which contains ten floors of specialists’ offices and other medical related concerns, I am not looking at the scenery or inspecting gardens. It is times like these that chisel away any magical thinking or denial I may be using to escape the daunting fact that I have a progressive neurological disease. From such a mindset I was shocked out of this lethargic dullness and surprised by beauty. It called to mind what a friend tried to point out to me recently.

Evidently, I have a problem with self-pity and in a recent conversation I was asked, “So, how are you doing?” and my rambling reply with references to various troublesome symptoms left his good heart in search of a way to free me of my negative thinking. And, what he did was state the obvious. Being very familiar with my history he briefly mentioned some of the darker twists of my personal journey and compared it to the comfortable life I now enjoy and the loving relationship I now have which is far beyond anything I’ve ever known. In a few brief minutes he made me step up for a better look.

From a street level I sometimes feel I have a slightly better than dreary life. This is through the lens of self-pity. A lousy way to view any life. I struggled with his words for a couple of days. On one hand I knew he was right. On the other I felt ashamed that I needed the beauty in my own life pointed out to me by someone else. My wife helped me in this area by confirming his words. I am not alone, and cannot live without community, fellowship, friends and love. My friend looks at me and can’t imagine why I feel sorry for myself.

He and my wife helped me get to the tenth floor and there I rid myself of any need for magical thinking. The magic is already there. Suffering is inescapably linked to life. Handled spiritually and positively it can often be the catalyst, the opportunity to reveal beauty. And, that is not a bad place to plant my flag.


Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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