It is a perditious, salacious fucker and leaves no area of the lives it invades unscathed by acidic demon slobber as it gnaws at the bones of life. There is blood, medications, drains, operations, “procedures” and fantastic, macabre, awful changes in the body. No secret or mundane tasks are left without its stain to transform it into something to decode, some enigma, as a message from God may be hidden in the folded towels and soapy dishes that will be “The Answer”. It shows us how impotent we are and that our childlike sense of power is simply a facade that turns to wind-blown ash like the bark of a burning tree.
A long-time family friend is caring for her mother who is in the grip of breast cancer. I don’t know the prognosis, nor do I want to know, I prefer to stay focused on the here and now. She has enough fear and negativity biting at her every waking moment of every day and needs to be fed from our long-handled spoons. It is our atonement, our reparation for our powerlessness to intervene or stop the agony. Her very internal being will depend on upon it. We’ve had our fair share of squabbles. Growing up more like cousins than family friends brought along the old adage of familiarity and contention. But, like family, in the end, we want no pain for the other. Like angry bees, we swarm, though it may be futile and without power to relieve; the show of ferocity is the small boy within’s blustering false brevity when challenged to fight by a much larger hooligan.
There flounders Jeff with so many extra holes and bags now in his frangible body to take over its normal, hidden functions that quietly percolate deep within the gut to keep the body alive and vital. Walking in to see him dwarfed by the folded bed as his long fingers gripped the ivory colored, plastic handrail, pulling the thin frame to gaze out the window with hungry eyes, stopped me. I was overcome with emotion and simply wanted to make “it” go away. This was someone’s child staring out that window, alone and breakable. The crusade to ferry him back to the smells and plants of his own home transform into an urgent ringing in my chest. The sense of bailing out a tidal wave with a thimble when trying to navigate the medical heteronomics and tangle of confused breadcrumb trails laid out for the wild goose chases that fill my days lately has been oppressive at best.
And of Lana’s nightmare? A woman I’ve never met but who stole my respect and ripped the scales off my eyes to reveal my hidden and jealously guarded prejudice regarding beautiful, well-to-do women. I have spent many moments giggling with hidden, stolen girlishness and drinking coffee watching her videos and secretly wishing I were she. Now to witness the ferocious, passionate dedication and love for her husband fall from her in words sprayed and woven across the screen like blood and lace with the force of a howl ripped from her rib cage is crushing, making it difficult to breathe or read.
I sat here looking at photos of the survivors of cancer. I gazed at those who didn’t survive its rapacious assault. These effigies share the intangible shards of battle and I am repulsed at my milquetoast complaints and delicacies that become lewd and narcissistic, infantile in comparison.
Who am I to take each breath or day or battle for granted today?
Just who the fuck am I to complain about my petty annoyances and lumps? Yet, every day, I/we do just that very thing.
I am impotent to force the outcome of testing for my mysterious illnesses, but I sure as fuck do have power over other areas of my life. Practicing that sovereignty, exploiting it is my key. I can not cure or remove the anguish of my fellow earth-mates, but I can honor their war by not spitting on the gifts given me daily. The strength and determination to not stop giving, to not stop loving, to not stop being the strength needed is my privilege.
Lord help me to use it well and fully and forgive me my vain self-centered hail and thunder.