Body Parts

heart-07Along the road , a few days ago, I was having dinner at the bar. Now that’s not at a bar (not that there is anything wrong with that) , it means at a bar in a resturant. If given the opportunity I prefer the bar stool to even the best table in the house. The reason…seating at  a bar offers far more possibilities for conversation. More chances to listen to America as I make my way along our country’s backroads. This was my second night having dinner at this resturant and the same bartender was working. I took my seat and I was looking at the menu in an ever difficult attempt to order anything without cheese,meat, fish or oil.  My greatest challenge, it turns out, is not trying to stay focused during long hours of riding. I’t not sharing the road with trailer trucks going 70 mph and it’s not riding through torrential rain and mid western thunderstorms. The greatest challenge is maintaining a vegan diet. I will update you on his particular road hazard  in the days ahead.

 

I was scanning the menu when the manager walked over and said, “I see you are back. That’s what we like to see.”  I laughed and said that she manages a great resturant with great food. She then said that last night the bartender told her about my 10,000 mile motorcycle ride to raise money to build specially adapted homes for our vets.  So we talked some more about the journey till it was time for her to get back to her resturant responsibilities.

Once again I had told the story of our vets and their needs. Once again I explained how these homes were really a gift of freedom and independence. And once again I spoke about how the homes are part of a healing process that these vets will face for the rest of their lives.  I hoped through conversation, that one more person left with a reinforced or renewed connection for  helping others. The bartender listened to our conversation between taking care of the customers seated at the bar and filling drink orders for the dining room  tables. Well, I finally ordered my dinner, with some “dietary compromises” to be sure.

A little later in the night the manager returned and said that there would be no charge for my dinner. “It’s our pleasure and our thanks for what you are doing for our vets.” I thanked her very much and noticed the bartender was listening and smiling.

I felt the need to ask, “did you have something to do with my  no charge dinner?” And The bartender said yes, “I appreciate the sacrifice that you are making to contribute to the healing process for these seriously wounded vets.”

It turns out that “the bartender” is a young artist named Kacey. Her area of artistic focus is working with blown, cut and polished glass. I found this out through the unique conversation that happens seated at a bar.

I  told her that my wife also was an artist, who like herself, is working another job as a teacher while pursuing her art. I explained that my wife designs very unique one of a kind  jewelry that include rings, necklaces,earrings and fashion accessories.  I then asked Kacey what  her focus is. The answer I received was completely unexpected.

Kacey works with glass and creates abstract interpretations of ancient Egyptian Canopic Jars and also abstract portrayals of human life. She explained that “Egyptian Canopic Jars protected parts of the body from Point A to Point B is exactly what our bodies do throughout our lives.  My art conveys the delicate balance that the properties of our bodies and glass have in common-fragility and strength.”

Kacey added ” After glass or a human body is cut into-they are left rough and raw, but with time and careful attention they can both be brought back to their original state. “

There is something more that I learned about care and sacrifice. And  not the “exaggerated sacrifice” of riding a motorcycle, that earned me a free dinner from the resturant manager.  Behind Kacey’s art is  a true act of  caring and sacrifice. In 2009, Kacey  donated a kidney  to a close family friend.

Kacey explained, “ I have realized that the act of cutting and polishing glass is analogous for the process of being wounded and then healing.  After glass or a human body is cut into-they are left rough and raw, but with time and careful attention they can both be brought back to their original state.”

I know that I was meant to meet Kasey and be given the gift of a renewed insight that now energizes my riding.  It is no matter of chance that she used the words  wounded and healing. Kacey’s words that I have included here were written on her website  long before I met her.

Together all of us can provide our attention , so desperately need by our vets, to  help return them to more then their “original state.”  We have the opportunity through our donations and conversation with those we meet to enable our wounded vets to become “vessels of wisdom forged by sacrifice.”

Kacey donated a kidney. But gave her heart to ‘One Life.”

Kacey’s art can be seen at kaceymccreery.com

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