Down Low





I recently celebrated my birthday at a favorite restaurant with two girlfriends.

We were able to go pretty hog wild for a Sunday brunch (meaning the three of us each ordered the petit filet + wine+ apps!).

Now, please understand that the extravagance we three enjoyed was made possible by a dear friend who pretty much represents the new paradigm-of-man; having gifted me generously enough to cover such a meal X three.

He gave me the cash and said my gift was to invite my friends to dine with me and not worry about ordering things that were too expensive as would be our usual “I want that but I’m not going to get it because it’s just TOO MUCH) .

He gave this gift without the desire to be there himself but because he knew how very much pleasure we girls would get.

I mean really….who does that sort of thing???

I was so thrilled to be at that table eating steak and laughing..soaking in the pleasure of “no worry”.

At the end of our meal I needed to use the restroom and said: “If I’m not back in 15 minutes please come check on me” .  I was unsure the handicap restroom was equipped with a toilet high enough that I could comfortably lift myself to transfer out of and back into to my chair.

The seat was just too low and I sat there on the toilet girding my loins anticipating my girlfriend needing to come in to help me.

“Cath?  Are you ok? ” she says outside the purposefully unlocked restroom door.

“I need your help” I say.

This needing help off the toilet is a new piece of the disability landscape I am unfamiliar with.

My inner circle has not experienced me in this awkwardness until this point so we’re all in unknown territory.

I weigh about 135 and it became evident that my beautiful and quite slight friend was not going to be able to lift me.

I took a breath and asked her to go find the owner (who I know and love).

He came into the restroom and I showed him how to put his hands under my armpit and lift.

Up I came as my long coat dropped into the toilet behind me.

All three of us in the restroom were pretty cool and contained.  No drama. No one freaked.  We all just played our unrehearsed parts in this new play.

Alone again back in my chair I washed up and gathered myself a bit before rolling back to my birthday celebration.

I cried feeling this new level of vulnerability.

My friends let me weep a bit without trying to fix me.

I picked up my wineglass and we toasted to the gritty adventure of Life made so sweet cushioned in Love.

Bobby (owner) brought our table a giant dessert of flan, cake, ice cream and cookies.  Standing behind me with his hands on my shoulders I blew out the candle with a wish.

I wished on that candle for God to shower everything good down on all those I love for supporting me in ways that help a girl in quite vulnerable states to go through them only to re-enter the world with a heart so blasted open in gratitude that she feels the great gift of communion in not suffering alone.

I am not alone.

And neither are you.


Ask for help.

Receive help.

Let out the seams of your heart.

Shared vulnerability is the great seam-ripper of the heart.

It is a very good thing.


7 Responses to “Down Low”

  1. Dennis Chamberlain on March 8th, 2017

    Vulnerability, and strength. Everything in between. You cover the full spectrum with such dignity and poise. And hats off to Bobby – a good reason for all of us to try Santa Cafe.

  2. Alexis on March 8th, 2017

    So much love!!!!

  3. Barbara on March 8th, 2017

    This is so very powerful and necessary. I feel for you, and at the same time I celebrate you, celebrate that you are where you are, because these words come of it; these words need to be heard – in our country and others. As always, thank you for your courage. And Happy Birthday Dear One!!! So much love, Barbie

  4. Karen on March 8th, 2017

    Beautiful reminder of the sweetness the world can hold,
    (and the story pulls you ahead in the funny/embarrassing story arsenal, the falling coat gave you the win . . . thank you, I often forget in the moment that I am not the only soul specially gifted with the entry requirements . . .)

  5. Alexandra Eldridge on March 8th, 2017

    Love to you and thank you for keeping us abreast with your honesty and grace. Love, A.

  6. Laura Hegfield on March 25th, 2017

    Thank you as always for sharing your vulnerability with all of us… this is how we heal… together.

  7. Jann on April 10th, 2017

    I am sitting at the car dealership crying.
    I can’t believe someone so incredible is my friend.
    I sit back and wait for you to show me the way.
    I know that you will, that I will just sit back gracefully and watch you live and learn and teach.
    You amaze me, you bowl me over.
    And you are so pretty and gracious and solidly believe in hard earned personal wisdom and Bobbi Brown Red.

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