After stretching the truth on a deal with a spiritual guru, literary agent Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) finds a Bodhi tree on his property. Its appearance holds a valuable lesson on the consequences of every word he speaks. Considering he can't keep his mouth shut, and everything that flies out of his mouth is either selfishly mean or sarcastic or just full of bs, the leaves from this Bodhi tree start to fall. He soon realizes that he better watch his words because there is great significance to this tree and for every word a leaf falls to the ground. He feverishly looks for a solution to this phenomenon, until finally he discovers his answer deep deep inside the fiber of his being. When and if all the leaves fall, the idea is that his life will so pass.
Half way through the movie while the rest of the audience was laughing hysterically, I became actually quite saddened. As I sat between my boys and watched them devour popcorn and root beer like it was the Final Supper, it dawned on me just how many leaves I have lost in the past four years as a consequence of Multiple Sclerosis. Believe me I couldn't have been happier sitting with the boys. They are a riot and there is no two alike, but from the lost feeling in my fingers and feet, to the inability to walk, the MS bitch has downed more leaves than I could have ever imagined. The days of driving my truck, working out, playing ball with the boys, fishing the Detroit River, taking hot showers, drinking hot beverages, the leaves continue to fall from my tree.
Today I left work early because the MS beast was knocking at the door. Big time. As I lay on the couch it was only around three and the thought of lying there until bed was very unsettling. Another afternoon overshadowed by the beast and robbed like a thief in the night. So damn cliche. I was scrolling through my IPhone and came across a picture of one of my favorite leaves. My 15 year old daughter Stacia and I getting ready to attend The Daddy Daughter Dance from about seven years ago. It happened to come through and old email and I saved it on the phone the other day. What a great memory it was. This is one leaf that will never fall from my tree, and knowing that tonight was her lacrosse game, I took a lesson from that simple movie and dug so deep into my core, dragged myself to the scooter, out to the van, and damned if I was going to lose another leaf, I was gonna see her play. Turned out she scored a magnificent backhand breakaway goal, and another where she juked a girl out of her shorts and flung one past the goalie into the net.
As I sat in the scooter I pictured in my mind new buds growing on my tree. I managed to stop another leaf from falling by being at that game, and even though I could have easily stayed in bed today I wasn't consciously adding to my pile of leaves. It's incredible how we must all dig deep, right to the core, healthy or not, every day brings with it a new set of challenges. Granted battling a disease multiplies things by one zillion, but I warn you however, it is too easy to let leaves fall, and some days it is even inevitable, but once there is nothing left on the tree it's just going to be too damn late. Try your darndest, dig deep, dig deeper, throw up if you have to, scream and curse at the universe, shed tears, yell like a mother f'er, but damnit if it is at all possible, try and keep your leaves on your tree. I appreciate the difficulty and anxiety, but don't help satisfy the beast or let it have its way. Give it hell.