Amy has been showing continuing signs of improvement. Yesterday, she felt up to getting out of the house for a few hours to watch both Meg's and Evan's soccer games (and both of them scored goals at their respective games (!)), and do a little pumpkin shopping at a nearby farm. She has been eating more regularly, taking a few tentative excursions from her restricted fiber diet, resuming her daily routine of having decaffeinated coffee in the morning, and even enjoying an occasional sip of wine. Her weight is the lowest in the 25+ years I've known her (117 pounds), and she is looking forward to putting some of that weight back on. The pain and some of the gastrointestinal ailments that she has been experiencing have diminished -- though they resurface from time to time -- and fatigue is an ongoing challenge. One of her biggest challenges, at this point, is coping with huge body temperature swings, alternating between feeling chilled (due to her lower body mass) and experiencing hot flashes ... but we prefer these challenges to some of the others we have faced recently.
We continue to enjoy an embarrassment of riches, in the form of support from our network of friends and family. Evan was able to have a small birthday celebration last weekend thanks to the generosity of one of his/our friend's family (I earlier noted how Meg would not have had much of a celebration of her birthday if not for the intervention of other friends). Also, some of the members of Amy's bunco group have taken it upon themselves to keep us well nourished, with a steady stream of meals that has been a welcome respite from the rather narrow repertoire of meals that I have been cycling through over the past several months (and freed up some of my time to focus on other activities). Amy and I both share a disinclination to ask for help, and a measure of discomfort when receiving assistance, so it has been a growthful experience to accept these acts of kindness with gratitude and grace ... and release the sense of non-deservedness ("you shouldn't have...").
Speaking of grace, the title of this post was inspired by the book, Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey Towards Spiritual Growth, by M. Scott Peck, the sequel to one of the most personally influential books I've ever read, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth. The inspiration stems from his opening sentence in the chapter on discipline in The Road Less Traveled: "Life is difficult". The book continues on to talk about the importance of discipline in meeting life's difficulties (I would call them "challenges"), the varieties of love (including its highest form, which is simply the desire to promote the spiritual growth of one's beloved), proposes that we've all got religion (which is simply one's world view, regardless of whether or how it correlates with a so-called "established" religion), and a notion of grace that emphasizes growing toward godhood (that I now recognize as aligning with the concept of namaste). Scott Peck died recently, and I heard a great interview on NPR in which Megory Anderson credited him with being a pioneer in the are of spiritual growth, while noting that other authors have since expanded beyond Peck's work to extend our understanding of love, discipline, religion and grace. I had wanted to note his death -- and his influence on my perspective -- at that time ... but, well, I had other challenges that life presented me that assumed a higher priority, and so I applied some discipline to focus on meeting those challenges.