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Letters by Sarah Vekasi
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December 28, 2012


Dearest friends,

I am so grateful to all of you. Thank you for hearing my request for help with medical bills and responding so generously! Many of you have donated, and all of you will get a personal thank you from me as I am able. A dear friend in Boulder contacted me two days ago to offer a further matching grant for $5000 to help me get over this steep deductible! So if you all are willing to continue to pass the word along, any donations will be matched up to $5000 between now and the end of January. All donations are tax deductible and go to the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative, either online at http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html or in the mail at PO Box 1114, Black Mountain, NC 28711.

Yesterday I went back to the ophthalmologist for the first time since going on the strong steroids. This probably won’t surprise you, but I am never on drugs of any sort, so this medicine has really wiped me out. Thankfully I am tapering off now. We learned that the swelling in my optic nerve has gone down slightly (yay!) and that there is a strong chance I will recover vision in about four to six months. The cause is still unknown, and honestly, pretty scary. I liked the doctor a lot. He looked me straight in my good eye and said, “Sarah, live each day as full as you can, don’t worry about diagnosis we don’t have yet, just give yourself over to healing and rest.” Lucky me, yall are helping me be able to do that. I am moved beyond words by the support and love I have received. Thank you. I am going to have an MRI every four months and go to the neurologist and the ophthalmologist every month for this year (crazy!), and see what we see going forward.

This clearly changes how I go forward as an eco-chaplain for a while, and I will keep yall informed throughout this journey. For the next few weeks or months, I am not able to drive, so I will be here in my new home in Black Mountain where I can still do counseling over skype, writing, and mediation by phone, but not too much traveling throughout the hills and hollows for a bit. Also, I am building a pottery studio in back of my new home, so if you ever wanted to throw pots with me, think about coming to visit. J In the midst of all the work ending mountaintop removal and working for a just and sustainable Appalachia I wasn’t explicit in my letters about the fact that I moved from Swannanoa to Black Mountain. I had been looking for a long time, and bought a home right in town where I can walk to the grocery store and downtown, and have neighbors. I wanted a place where I can live without driving, not knowing just how important that would be a month later! I had planned to have my new home all ready for my family for Christmas, but instead, my loving parents moved me right in. This is all such a humbling and huge experience receiving all this help. Thank-you all.

I know this season has been a roller coaster for all of us. The psychological impact alone of mass media predictions of apocalypse, horrifying mass shootings, severe weather, and all the ups and downs of our do nothing congress, just to name a few, is immeasurable. Begin to think about mountaintop removal, fracking, ice melts in Antarctica, and staying present at all is a great feat. It is hard to stay focused on a bigger picture of little details: the miracle of tea in a mug, sunshine rising over the mountains, the voice of a loved one, the touch of our skin, breathing in and out. Staying awake in a time of global crisis is one of the noblest professions I can dream of, and any moment we can achieve it is a great victory. All we have is to return to presence again and again and again, it’s okay to not dwell, just return.

Thank you all for your support. I love all of you. If you can continue to help donate to the medical fund, all donations will be matched up to $5000 until the end of January! Donations can be made online at http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html or in the mail at PO Box 1114, Black Mountain, NC 28711.

Love to all,

Pottery: www.sarahsunshinepottery.com