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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year Resolve

Two years ago we received a holiday card from the Wolf family. The three of them were pictured on their front stoop in a wide shot that showed Lou's new prosthetic leg. The caption read, "We've got a leg up on the new year." Lou had his leg amputated months earlier following a sudden blood clot problem that occurred during a long flight from Southeast Asia back to the states. Lou is not the type to let major surgeries and life changes keep him down, and before long he was asked to mentor other amputees at Walter Reed Hospital and Army Medical Center in his hometown, D.C. (There is some irony there, since Lou was a conscientious objector in the early 60's and edited a magazine that, for decades, reported on CIA operations and "dirty business" throughout Latin America.)

Over Christmas and New Years 2007, the Wolf family joined us for a vacation at a small, eco-tourist resort 90 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, called Mar de Jade. Lou gave demonstrations of how his new computerized prosthetic could adjust itself for stair climbing etc. and Lou was determined to walk without assistance on the very uneven unpaved grounds, though he had to be caught a couple of times before hitting the ground. He asked my sons, Alex and Zac, if they might be willing to help him fulfill a dream of his. Could they help him swim in the ocean?

So, one morning, they hired a fisherman to take them out in his little boat. They helped Lou into the boat and then over the side and the three of them swam together for awhile, in what Lou described as a "peak experience." Lou was smiling ear to ear at lunchtime, while his wife wore an expression of tolerant relief.

With another new year upon us - a time for resolutions and wishes - I'm hoping to see a lot of Lou's optimism and uncomplicated resolve - in myself, my family, and friends - to take the steps toward what we see in our best dreams and hopes.

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