The Swirling Stopped

Life swirls. It twists and turns. And, unless we are comatose to our life and circumstance, it seldom if ever, leaves us alone.

Think of it. Bombs bursting in air and it’s more than an anthem. “You’ve got a brain tumor and we doubt we can remove all of it.” “My life is in shambles and I need confession.” New employment is well beyond the next application. Cold and cough and pneumonia.

The Swirl. More to the point, The Swirling.

And then. And Then. Coming into the swirling a calmness, a moment in which life is so very affirmable and living well engages the heart and soul.

It’s hearing Art Johnson this morning in his report to the team at McCoy Building Company, that the difficulties make you tough. But. A warning. Don’t be so tough you believe you can do it alone. Art didn’t sing it, probably because he can only lip-sync, but the words were offered, “People who need people…”

And then, taking a walk with Joanne. I’ve bragged more than a lot about Joanne Carlson Brown. She’s a buddy of buddies, Methodist pastor in West Seattle. Have shared that her spouse, Christie, had brain tumor surgery more than a week ago, only ½ of the tumor removed, even Johns Hopkins cannot identify the tumor [there are 20 markers for brain tumors and each of the markers was negative]. A few days ago they couldn’t wake Christie up. When they did they discovered her brain was swelling and she had a “cardiac incident.” More tests. But, somehow, her “bounce-back” has not left! She was eyes open and even a smile. Christie will now undergo more than 20 radiation treatments. But, she’s alive.

Joanne and I took a walk…in Seattle…and the rain was not pouring. [Both Portland and Seattle to this April date have had more than the average annual rainfall.] An idea, even though I had no clue how to pull it off. A selfie with Joanne. Ah, her smile. I share it below. Life happens. Difficulties build toughness. But never to the point of not needing friends. Joanne is my dear, dear friend. The swirl stopped in that moment.

And then.

A story that is not fiction. A story that stopped time for me. About a cousin. Jill Widlits is the lady. What a story. She has cared for dogs…in fact has helped rescue more than 500. But about 2 years ago, she wanted to be a grandma. Tom and Jill do not have children. Jill’s son and daughter-in-law decided to not have children.

Jill wanted to do something about that. Two years ago she applied to Surrogate Grandparents-USA. Time passed. Then a few months ago a connection was made with a family who have a daughter, born on December 29, 2015. The extended family for this family of 3 is not near. They wanted grandparents. Enter Jill and Tom.

The story takes my breath, brings tears to my heart and makes it clear: the swirling has an enemy! The swirling can stop.

Such joy. The granddaughter’s name is Emery. Her mother is Hispanic and her father is part Japanese. Emery’s now charging into her 2nd year. The parents, although not deaf, are teaching her to sign. Jill said it’s such a joy. ”Emery knows how to sign banana.” She will learn 3 languages…for starters. And the time Tom and Jill have with Emery. Great. Such a focus for me…on how goodness and caring and loving can be contagious. The swirling doesn’t have a chance.

I’m back in Austin now. In fact, it’s the first time in memory that the wind and rain won…so no fishing yesterday. But, you know? That’s just fine…because of Joanne’s smile [No Matter What is her tag]…and the pic of Jill and Emery. Plus, since Tom’s a NIKE employee, I betcha Emery will learn how to sign thank you for the NIKE apparel!!

Meet Emery and Jill:
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Meet Joanne in the Selfie [The No Matter What Friend]:


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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One Response to The Swirling Stopped

  1. Donna says:

    I am absolutely thrilled to have come across your Blog Mark, thank you for writing about Jill. I am the founder of Surrogate Grandparents – USA and am familiar with Jill’s story, as well as many others, who have found loving connections through this most awesome group.

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