For more than a decade, I've belonged to a women's group that gets together every Saturday morning. We meet in a Craftsman-style house. There are ten cement steps leading up to a broad wooden porch. The steps are uneven with no railing up the right-hand side. Post-stroke, when I first tackled those steps, I climbed only with my strong leg, using my cane for balance and pausing often to rest.
Each week my Saturday women would stand on the porch watching like nervous mothers and exploding into smiles when I reached the top stair. In time I found the courage to climb leg over leg.
A couple months ago I set a goal of climbing the stairs without my cane. One of my Saturday women would climb beside me so that I could grab her if I lost my balance. Last weekend I tried for the first time to climb alone. I lost my balance on the eighth step and called for help. Then I went back to the bottom and tried again. That second time I cleared the tenth step. My Saturday women hugged me and we cried.
A long time ago my first boss taught me this: "Marcelle, you're going to encounter two kinds of people in this world – those who pull you up and those who pull you down. The ones who pull you up are 'Balcony People' and those are the people you want in your life."
She was right and I found mine standing on a porch.