My neighbor, Mary, has MS. She was diagnosed when she was 19. You couldn't imagine what thirty-five years of a disease like that can do to a person, and none of it is good.
Recently, Mary needed to get a crown. Not the pretty, sparkly kind, but the expensive drool-inducing kind, and she asked me to take her to the dentist. When I picked her up, she scheduled a return appointment to get her permanent crown put on, and asked me if I could bring her back. Only if I'm not working by then, Mary. Sure enough, two weeks later You Know Who is available for a ride to the dentist. It is my custom to reward myself for any dental work I have endured, and I told Mary that when I picked her up. Little work, little reward. Big work, big reward. Mary's not as greedy as me, so she decided on coffee and a muffin.
We sat in the local coffee shop talking about kids and husbands, our crackpot Governor, music, writing and the neighbors. With all her limitations and reasons to be bitter, she is not. She is funny and interesting and dear to many of us. Our Mary in her wheelchair conjures up all kinds of thoughts, but in her presence I see the grace.