Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What We Know So Far

I have to admit, the story of Pink Hats and a Mack Truck has taken me by surprise. At first, I had a basic idea where it was going and assumed it would get there with the occasional entry. Then I realized I genuinely cared about the characters and their tale took on new interest. What I thought was going to be a short story has become much more; it's almost an online novel, with each post serving as a separate chapter.

One of the themes I hoped would develop asks the question, how far will a person go to get what they want? Drs. Bob and Jessie have given us an indication. We know they've been acquainted for a little over five years, but circumstances did not permit the expression of anything beyond friendship. Nevertheless, we can see they began caring deeply for one another almost from the moment they met, and these feelings have endured. Her biological clock is ticking, yet she has been willing to wait for "the right one"; he resisted taking things to the next level because the freedom to establish herself as a physician in her own right was more important to him than his own desires. Clearly, they are willing to go to considerable lengths for each other and for a chance to be together. I'm genuinely impressed with their depth of character, courage and determination.

Another intriguing theme that has surfaced concerns limitations. Bob is 62, divorced, and has no children. He's always wanted them but the cards he's been dealt didn't play out as he'd hoped. Now he's presented with a pair of orphaned newborn twin girls and it appears he cares for them a great deal, so much so that he's intimated he'd like to become their father. While age is not a limitation for adoption in the State of Maine, there are questions about his age that he's got to confront and I'm sure you can think of a few of them.

The issue of his mortality absolutely must surface; neither he nor we can avoid it. Halley will be his sounding board as well as devil's advocate in this discussion. Jessie has already let him know, in no uncertain terms, that she's not afraid of what may be coming. But the answers he needs are ones he'll have to provide for himself and I can assure you, he's been doing a lot of thinking lately.

You see, there are limitations and then there are limitations. Some limitations are real in the sense they result from being human or they're created by the world we inhabit. Others, we create for ourselves, i.e. they are psychological, though this should not be taken to mean they are imaginary. Instead, the ways we think of ourselves as persons and our unique perceptions of reality influence our capabilities. Bob and Jessie, just like us, will have to confront both kinds of limitations in order to find out what they're made of and what they're capable of accomplishing. How well they do this will largely determine their future.

One more question awaits Bob and Jessie's deliberation and it relates to the rightness, if you will, or the justice in pursuing something that one believes to be essential to their well-being. Is it right, is it fair, or is it selfish and unfeeling for Bob to undertake loving a woman who is substantially younger than him and to contemplate adopting children in the same breath?

And what about Jessie? Has she been foolish, loving this man as long as she has and turning down what we assume have been other offers? The answers to these questions are not merely matters of opinion, at least not for Bob and Jessie. Okay, I admit this is partly because I'm writing their story and I want them to think through the issues. You got me there. But the real reason stems from who they are. Neither one is the kind of person who takes life for granted. They are intentional, they know what they want and who they want, and in order to have them both, they must look destiny in the face and say, in essence, hit me with your best shot.

There's no question Pink Hats and a Mack Truck is a "feel good" story. But it's also an opportunity to see how two people grapple with issues that you and I aren't strangers to. Hopefully, reading about them, we'll all gain some wisdom or perspective or whatever it is that we need to make life better for ourselves and those we love. From what we know so far, I think Jessie and Bob would like that, very much.

(Creative Commons image of sunrise over Portland, ME from Maine Medical Center by jennratonmort via Flickr)

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