I just had to share something that happened today that no one I work with can really understand. I have had a wonderful elderly lady coming to my Tai Chi for Health classes since I began teaching three years ago. She is quite remarkable, the one student I know would come to class during a blizzard. She is always at the facility doing whatever she can (she actually tried a Zumba class just to see what the buzz was all about).
Rumor has it that 20 years ago she had part of her brain removed due to cancer. They say that she continued to come here and walk, even during the first few months when she had to hold onto the wall for balance. By her physical abilities now you would never guess she had such a past.
Several months ago she came to me worried that one shoulder was lower than the other. I advised her to see a physician. I am not 100% sure what ailment she did have (last I heard it had 30 letters in it) but she entered the hospital and was gone for months. She lost the ability to walk and a great deal of muscle, but had found the problem before it did permanate damage.
Slowly she began rehab, determined to come back to the facility. As soon as she could, she was back, walking slowly with a cane, but with her ever-present smile. She commented to me that she was sorry that she wouldn’t be in tai chi for a while yet, due to the cane and her not-quite-returned balance. I told her that she shouldn’t let that stop her, and explained that she could do the class in a chair. She came the very next class (today).
It was so great to see her in her usual spot, doing the moves along with the rest of us. I showed her some of what I learned from Jef at the workshop this summer about tai chi in a chair, and she was just overcome that she could continue to participate. The rest of the class wants to try tai chi in a chair because of how great she said she felt.
Even now, just thinking about it brings me such joy. She really is a great inspiration and I am so glad that I am able to bring tai chi to her so she can enjoy it. She thanked me many times for showing her how she can continue to do the class, but I just kept thanking her back for being such an inspiration.
We all know how rewarding practicing and leading others to tai chi can be, and this one case personifies that for me. Thank all of you who took the time to read this lengthy post. What is joy, if you cannot share it with others who understand?