Friday, February 20, 2009

The Giving Tree

I told Dan recently that I feel like he is living the “The Giving Tree”. You remember the Shel Silverstein story where a tree and a boy become best friends, and the tree happily obliges the boy’s requests. He gives the boy shade, apples to eat & his branches to a build a house. The boy gets older, and just keeps taking until he finally leaves the tree a stump after he cuts it down to make a boat. In the end, even after the boy had long sailed away, the tree provides him (now an old man) a place to rest.

There are two ways to look at the story- from the tree who’s first inclination is to give of itself or the boy who’s only inclination is to take. Relax- I am not trying to draw a comparison between the boy & cancer hacking away at Dan… so please don’t be alarmed. I identify with the story as it relates to a person’s (in this case- a tree’s) demeanor & will to keep giving & living selflessly, no matter what is taken from them. Where some would see the tree becoming smaller & smaller at the hands of the selfish boy, I always took more from the story’s other message. To me, I always remember that even though the tree may have sacrificed some parts of itself, it could still find something to give, and still kept living.

Like the tree, Dan has sacrificed some good physical parts of himself over the past few months. I have been amazed to witness how much the human body can take, and just marvel at what he can continue to do mentally. Take Dan last week- what would you do if your stomach literally filled up with fluid, smushing your insides and make it hard to eat or even sit comfortably? If all that he had been through wasn’t enough, I really feared that this new hurdle would be his undoing. Most people would just shut it down. But Dan insists on getting a tube put in him so that he can feel better to get back to work. Granted, sometimes his ambition is slowed by the reality of the situation. But the will to live the same way he always has, with the same attitude… is part of his DNA. Just like that tree was “rooted” in giving and living no matter what was the boy took from it. Dan is just like that darn tree! You can strip everything else away, but what remains is still the best part. I mean, would you still insist on doing the dishes even though you have the best excuse to get out of it?


Anonymous said...

Meg and Dan

I hope that Dan will start to get some relief from his discomfort and regain strength -- sprout anew so to speak in terms of the giving tree. It happens with both plants and people. The weather today is cold, but spring is coming. I'm looking forward to a game of golf with both of you on the first warm weekend.


Stephanie said...

Hi Meg and Dan,

The Giving Tree was one of my favorite stories as a child (that and anything else by Shel). It always made me sad, but in a happy way, if that makes sense at all. Meg, what a beautiful analogy. And I get it-- completely.

I have to tell you that I love the story of your towing incident. Good for you both. I can tell you that Kevin and I often have days like that, and I applaud you for not backing down. A$$holes deserve to be treated as such. It's that fight that's in you both... sometimes you have to direct it towards something other than the cancer, just for the release.

I'm sorry to hear of your latest setbacks. Although we haven't met, we think of you often and always pray for the best for you both. If appointments ever bring you to Boston, we'd love to have dinner with you.

All the best to an inspiring couple,
Stephanie (Kevin Brumett's fiance)

Patrice said...

Meg & Dan,

Nice analogy Meg--I also loved that story. You both are so giving to each other--I am sorry your Valentine's Day was not as romantic with the drain issues--but sounds like you both were united togther with the true meaning of love as St. Valentine would have fought for back in 270AD.

nina said...

Meg and Dan,

I often thought of Valentine's day from last year when Dan put the "Happy V-Day" sign up in his office window. Had Valentine's day been on a weekday, I am sure our office staff could have come up with another message for the building across the way...

Meg, your analogy is quite fitting. My experience of Dan is that he has taken the art of "giving" to a new level and frankly, so have you. The two of you remind all of us why it is so important to give of ourselves.

The best though is still the tow truck story...So...hang in there and keep us posted. I appreciate being able to know how you guys are doing!

Take care! Nina

Linda said...

Hi Meg and Dan
Love the post! I am also reminded of "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost - there are also 2 ways to read that - but when I think of the two of you, you have clearly taken the road less traveled - and you have and continue to use it to touch people in a very special way.
Much love from Team Waeger-Indy!

hughesd2000 said...

Oh one of my favortie stories and my kiddos. They pipe in with "and the tree was sad" when appropriate! You both give so much of yourselves, especially to each other and that is something special. Hope this weekend has been better than last and next weekend bettter than this one!!

Stepmom said...

Hi Dan adn Meg; I'm sitting here in awe of your strength and commitment to one another. The analogy of the giving tree brought tears to my eyes. It is and always will be one of my favorite stories. I pray that this drain becomes just another part of your routine, rather than a painful addition to your already taxed psyches. The pain will pass with the healing of the incision and stitches. I commend you and all who have assisted you in your research for other medical opinions. Now, my prescription for the two of you is: rest whenever you can, laugh whenever you can, keep holding on to one another, and to your faith and your drive. You are both in my prayers at all times. Peace, love and joy,

Anonymous said...

DW - your boy Mickelson actually came through and won...after almost giving it away. We will see what happens next weekend when Tiger comes back...

BASEBALL Season is only 5 weeks away.


Anonymous said...

Yeah Phil!



Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed, Meg, you are so right to point out how Dan has that "will to live", to keep fully engaged in life while in the throes of physical pain and difficult setbacks. You mention Dan's determined will, how it's part of his DNA--well, that rings so true and might just be what gets him through all of the adversity to the winning finish line of recovery to full health--we are all rooting for that, for sure.

"The Giving Tree", that wonderful book about loving and about being loved--I think you and Dan are writing a similar life story, but your's is one of mutual giving, one of a mutual loving exchange, a balanced co-creative relationship, that is so alive and full of vibrant love with even some hearty comic relief thrown in for laughs. You both are like "that darn tree that keeps giving and is fully rooted in life no matter what." And like the little boy, you both are able to accept the favors, the help, and the love--it's a beautiful story; it's your love story, one that is so real and so very inspiring.

cousin P said...

This post means so much to me, mostly for reasons I can't bring myself to share here -- but I thank you and Dan for reminding me what the human spirit, in it's most glorious form, looks like. Many blessings to you both.

Erin said...

Meg, your touching post reminded me of Abraham Lincoln's quote:

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Dan, you are an amazing teacher to us all, in that you continue to show us how to pack our years so full of life.

We thank you.
And we love you.
Erin and Brendon